Simon Jenkins in the Guardian today claims that a change in editorial policy on his local paper in London, the Hampstead and Highgate Express, to focus on crime has changed his attitude to his neighbourhood from one of pride to fear.
He writes: "My old newspaper, north London's Ham & High, some years ago changed its policy from reporting news in the round to concentrating on crime. My image of my neighbourhood shifted abruptly from one of pride to one of grim fear, unrelated to any fact. I relate that directly to the press."
In a more general point about the media being too miserable, Jenkins states: "There used to be an editorial rule of thumb that bad news should be dosed with good. The news in brief column would alternate sad and happy items. This discipline has gone, along with discretion in the choice of pictures of the dead. Even the one-time jollity of feature pages has collapsed in a grim worthiness of global warming and swine flu. The media does not do joy any more. If a newspaper is the nation talking to itself, it is talking with a sob in its throat."
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