I hope readers don’t think I’ve been asked by the Eastbourne Herald or any other newspaper to write the following column. I most certainly have not.
On behalf of my clients it is true that working in public relations I do deal with lots of different journalists from lots of different media, trying my best to make sure they are represented accurately and, hopefully, positively.
My motivation for writing this column is about the role local newspapers play and the need to support them.
Yes, I know the Leveson inquiry and Hugh Grant’s Hacked Off campaign hasn’t painted the prettiest picture of journalism. That inquiry and Hugh’s fury focused on the excesses of a few, not the vast majority of journalists whose day job it is to simply bring an accurate interpretation of the news to their readers.
A few miscreant hacks aside, one of the biggest issues for newspapers is the volume of free news online. It has changed the way many of us behave when we want our fix of news. Why buy a paper when you can get a free pic and caption online?
I’ll tell you why.
Newspapers provide the checks and balances that help ensure our leaders and decision makers act in the interest of you and me, not in their own self-interest. They challenge, argue, interrogate and expose wrongdoing. The Eastbourne Herald does a great job on all these counts – and I work in a world where an email from a journalist with a nose for story isn’t one of my most favourite things!
Society needs a media with teeth. Sharp teeth. Journalism has taken a kicking of late, but trust me, the work of good, hardworking, honest journalists, whose integrity is irrefutable, are worth buying a newspaper for. I will, hope you do too.
This guest coloumn was featured in the Eastbourne Herald on Friday 12th April 2013