Funding for values
The article by Geoff Brookes, Beware the News Hounds (May 05) certainly struck a chord with me and I wish I had read it before I wrote an article for the TES.
The article was going well until a few hours before the deadline to print when I found the TES had taken one line from the article and highlighted it in big type to form a subtitle. Subsequently, I found my picture on the front page with the offending subtitle "bribery pays".
Inevitably, such a headline grabber was picked up by the Daily Mail, Central TV, Anglia TV and the local newspaper who sensationalised it. I never spoke to the local paper but they quoted me at length on the front page. The reporter changed some of the wording in the original article thereby creating the impression that I had been interviewed by them.
The journalists I dealt with were all very professional but at the same time very persistent. They use many strategies to get what they want and may lull you into thinking that you can control them but you can't - they persue stories for a living and they do it well.
Fight fire with fire is my motto and I found the council's press office very helpful. Dealing with the media all the time, they gave good advice and knew how to see them off.
Nevertheless, it was a very uncomfortable time. The only consolation is that news moves quickly and my article was fish and chips wrapping before too long.
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