Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Not all newspapers should be in the dock . . .

This is the leader I did for the Bath Chronicle on July 12 - before we knew the News Of The World was to close

This has not been an easy week for anyone involved in newspapers or the written press.

The terrible revelations about the extent of the phone hacking carried out by the News of The World has left all of us in the press feeling a sort of collective guilt.

Of course we, at the Chronicle may be a million miles away from the 'red-tops' in terms of the way we approach news - and indeed the way we get our stories - but we are all part of the same profession.

As such, when one of us lets the side down we know our industry as a whole can start to look very bad in the eyes of the public.

But, just as one rogue policeman doesn't mean a whole police force is corrupt or one bad teacher means an entire school has failed, it feels only fair, as the attacks on our profession mount, to at least ask that people don't tar all newspapers with the same brush.

As Alaistair Campbell pointed out on the radio on Tuesday night Britain has some of the best and the worst press in the world and we hope that local papers such as the Chronicle are seen very much in the former category due to our absolute commitment to our communities.

Our hopes for this were raised this week by a Newspaper Society survey which showed that the local press remains the most trusted of all media - ahead of television and well ahead of our national colleagues. We have earned this position, we believe, by trying to provide an independent news service week in, week out that fully reflects and celebrates local life.

While national newspapers have political or social biases, we have none - our only bias is towards our readers and their concerns. We believe our papers are built on the basis of mutual respect and trust between ourselves and our readers.

However, we are not complacent and we are always keen to hear from you about how we can improve because we are conscious of the fact that you set us very high standards.

It is our privilege to try and match your standards. Why? Because this is your newspaper.

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