The full story on this isn’t out yet, but what has been reported isn’t pretty. Political blogger Sean Holman has been following the case of Vivian Smith, a Victoria (BC) Times-Colonist writing coach and columnist who was fired, apparently because of advertiser discontent.

This post is the most recent one Sean has penned and has links to earlier reports.

… the axeing of Times Colonist columnist Vivian Smith … occurred a day after tourism industry representatives met with the newspaper’s publisher to complain about a column by Ms. Smith in which she encouraged out-of-towners to explore Victoria’s no-charge attraction rather than its more pricey visitor venues.

While the newspaper isn’t commenting, Sean also has quotes from some of the upset tourism officials who said the newspaper’s publisher, Bob McKenzie, had indicated that Smith would likely have her contract cut short as the result of the reaction to the column.

This is a fundamental breech of media ethics and journalism practice, although killing off a column and cutting short a contract at the behest of local advertisers is, unfortunately, not unheard of in the world of newspapers. It is somewhat surprising to hear of it happening at a fairly major (by Canadian standards) daily newspaper.

More surprising still is how little has been reported about this. A Google news search brings up only one article, also written by Sean Holman, in 24 Hours, a Vancouver-based free daily. A Technorati search turns up passing mention of it at Up in Ontario and Vancouver blogger Rob Cottingham picked up on the story, too.

Nothing, so far, in the local quality daily here in Vancouver but then I’m not expecting anything: CanWest owns both the Vancouver Sun and the Victoria Times-Colonist and news value rarely overcomes corporate culture.