Thursday 12 November 2009

Editors hit back in Monbiot backlash

The backlash against George Monbiot's hatchet job on the local press in the Guardian continues today.
Bob Satchwell (pictured) , executive director of the Society of Editors and ex-editor of the Cambridge Evening News, turns his fire on Monbiot in the Guardian's Response slot .
Satchwell writes: "Editors and journalists are not the cowed weaklings in hoc to the local council and big business that he suggests. Among them are the journalists and local institutions that have supported the Guardian for decades, providing profits that fund its special brand of journalism."
Guardian journalist Martin Wainwright defended the local press and gave examples of good local journalism in a Comment is Free piece yesterday.
My story about Wainwright has attracted a posting from Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson who gives examples of campaigning journalism by his paper: "Holding public meetings against the controversial merger of City and Sandwell Hospitals (resulting change in plans); constant challenges to the city council over, to name just five issues, the state of swimming pools, cost of newly proposed multi-million pound library, calling for people to decide over elected mayors, revealing and attacking exec officers hotel mini-bar expenses; revealing and attacking 10% plus pay rises for council chiefs, etc, etc; constantly challenging National Express over the state of city buses (including public debate involving plc boss); and it goes on. Another example: we all hate legals, but we are currently fighting two claims from high-profile local firms over stories they did not want in the public domain."

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