The Crucial Blog

Posted by Juliette Kemp
Juliette Kemp
Juliette Kemp is an established and highly experienced journalist who has written and designed for many of th...
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on Wednesday, 30 November 2011
in Journalism

Don't tar all journalists with the same brush

My name's Juliette and I am a journalist. There - in these current climes it sounds like an admission of something shameful.

Well, the evidence coming out of the Levenson Inquiry into press ethics has indeed been shocking, disturbing and downright shameful.58b67 press_hat_19

Only today Alistair Campbell is being reported as saying in his written evidence that the press is "frankly putrid in many of its elements" and that a very small number of people have "besmirched the name of every journalist in the country".

Well ain't that the case.

I wonder how many people reading/hearing the reports of the inquiry are drawing the distinction between the national 'Fleet Street' press and the regional press?

Throughout my years in journalism the perception of the industry and those in it appears to have been drawn purely from how the nationals cover news and how their staff behave - to the point of a cliché. It spills over into drama and soap operas and even the old 'talking in the pub' scenario reveals people who believe they can't say anything about the latest community group bust-up or goings on to you because you're only going to rush off and put a story in the 'local rag' in the most lurid of terms and filled with 'lies'.

Just put me in a trench coat and trilby with 'press' ticket in the hatband.

It has always been the case - the regional press has suffered thanks to the actions of its national colleagues.

Don't get me wrong, as with all industries and all people there is good and bad in everything but, at a time when the regional industry is on its knees - papers closing, swathes of editorial people being made redundant practically on a weekly basis - thanks to a combination of recession and the digital revolution, being told that it's "putrid" is just another kick in the column inches.

I have worked with so many of the regional press who care passionately about what they do and the communities they live in. Working on a local paper - yes paper, not rag - means you are part of that society and you treat everyone in it with dignity and respect and in a thoroughly professional manner.

Sadly local newspapers are becoming less local - central subbing hub are the buzz words nowadays but are also the very ones that create howls of anguish as those on the patch know just how important it is to be that intrinsic part of the community they serve and how much their absence is rued by former readers. You wouldn't get that if they all behaved like the nationals.

And for all that journalistic bad stuff we're hearing about, there's plenty that's worth celebrating and is why we at Crucial PR are proud to call ourselves journalists, why we get results and why clients realise that actually working with journalists can be good news for them.

Honesty, trust, tact, friendliness, sympathy, intelligence, sticklers for truth and attributable facts... that's just to start with, but it's about time we started putting them together with press and journalism too.



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Juliette Kemp is an established and highly experienced journalist who has written and designed for many of the leading dailies and weeklies in the West Midlands, as well as several glossy lifestyle magazines.
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