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Principles can be costly – but they’re worth it

 Published on: 17th September 2014   |   By: Nik Allen

September's My Ricky News front cover.

September’s My Ricky News front cover.

Eight years ago I started My Abbots News because I felt a publication which served the village at the time saw everything through rose tinted glasses.

It rarely covered bad news. There was no mention of the punch ups outside the pubs, the spate of burglaries or the anti social behaviour near the parade of shops.

It went unreported. It didn’t exist.

But the problem was, it DID exist, it DID happen and it DID need to be reported.

So, upon cherishing the principle of reporting on the good, bad and ugly side of local life the magazine was born.

A simple recipe of keeping the community fully informed, no matter what, has proved a big hit in all the areas our different magazines now cover.

So why am I banging on about this?

On Monday I received a letter from the headmistress of the Royal Masonic School for Girls; Mrs Rose. The headmistress criticised our coverage of a story about one of its teachers, Emily Fox, being convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 15 year-old pupil.

Part of Mrs Rose’s complaint was that we had drawn the community’s attention to ‘bad’ local news by reporting and putting the case on our My Ricky News September front cover. I respectfully disagreed with her opinion.

In the past we have given the school lots of very positive coverage when it has events, when its students carried out local voluntary work and we’ve focussed on its successes.

However, I go back to this blog’s first paragraph. Our publications cover the whole gamut of community life including the unsavoury, the ugly and the bad events which may occur.

These are our guiding principles and ones we are proud of. I always said the magazines would not be just a puppet or a mouth piece for advertisers.

For the vast part we have never had to cover negative stories involving advertisers but when it has happened we’ve never ducked our responsibility of reporting these incidents.

The letter from the headmistress concluded with the line, ‘The School will no longer be providing My Ricky News with advertising revenue.’

So for the sake of our values, we lost a chunk of advertising spend.

Far more importantly, we stuck to our principles of keeping our readers fully informed – and to us, that’s worth far more.

Thanks for reading.

Nik

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