Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Chris Wheal: What it's like to be death knocked

Journalist Chris Wheal has told on his blog what it is like to be involved in a family tragedy and be death knocked by the media.
Chris writes: "My nine-year-old nephew Jamie Bray died in a tragic accident last week, getting caught in a rope swing in his garden, breaking his neck in the fall and ending up hung by the rope.
"Since then I have had to deal with the press. Being a journalist on the receiving end of journalism is an eye-opener. And the first thing I have noticed is just how good the local press is and how lazy the nationals are."
You can read his full blog here.


George Dearsley said...

A very interesting and moving piece on Chris's blog. This is never an easy job and one which calls for the utmost decorum and diplomacy. I agree the offer of money by the agency was appalling. That should never have happened. However, some people in grief DO wish to talk, especially to the local paper. I recall in my first month as a trainee on the Whitley Bay Guardian having to knock the door of a family whose five year old daughter had drowned in a back garden swimming pool FOUR HOURS earlier. It was my first death knock and I had no idea what to do. But I was polite, introduced myself properly and was promptly invited in, given tea and cake and spent more than an hour with the family who handed me dozens of photographs. I realise now they were propbably in shock. But they wanted to pour out their emotions to a stranger. That said I have, on other occasions, been threatened and verbally abused by people understandably stressed and in grief. The answer is to apologise and withdraw promptly. I don’t do this kind of work now and can’t say that I miss it. But it’s part and parcel of journalism. My further disappointment is the sloppy (and uncaring) way the industry operates nowadays, especially the nationals. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Surprised you didn't flag up the horse piss-laden water pistol angle Jon.