Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WE Shouldn't Share Blame for Scandal; Chronicle Comment

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WE Shouldn't Share Blame for Scandal; Chronicle Comment

Article excerpt

LIKE every decent-minded person in the country, our newsroom is full of professional journalists appalled at the abuse of press freedom undertaken by the News of the World.

It is a damaged brand - morally bankrupt - which has brought shame on our industry and the threat of further legislation and regulation which will make it more difficult to do the job.

Yet, the last edition coming out on Sunday is a major shock - a newspaper which until this outrageous scandal had a well-earned reputation for investigative journalism mixed with celebrity gossip, sport and campaigning. It became Britain's biggest-selling newspaper and it is difficult to believe it will never hit the streets again, while sympathy is with the blameless 200 who are losing their jobs as result.

No doubt something like The Sun on Sunday - not in any way to be confused by our sister title the Sunday Sun - will be coming to our streets soon.

A free, independent, scrutinising press has long played a key role in the democracy of this country at both a local and national level.

In the acres of newspaper coverage, in Parliament with MPs baying for blood and most notably among the, at times, holier-thanthou TV coverage, this has been overlooked during the phone hacking debates.

It is hugely disappointing that, so far, few have drawn a distinction between the way most journalists operate and the culture which has been exposed at the News of the World.

I know of no regional or local newspapers that act in this way. Do we get things wrong? Yes.

The difference is we put them right through direct contact with complainants, correcting our errors in print and carrying your views on our coverage in letters and Feedback columns.

Contrary to the impression given that little attention is paid to the industry watchdog - the Press Complaints Commission - nothing could be further from the truth.

A letter from the PCC is taken extremely seriously; complaints dealt with as quickly as possible in the hope a satisfactory resolution can be reached.

No journalist wears any such letter as a badge of honour as no editor relishes having to publish in a prominent position any adjudication against their newspaper. …

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