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What makes a news story?

 Published on: 6th May 2015   |   By: Nik Allen

Being an editor with a reasonably high public profile is great fun, most of the time.

You get to meet, greet and know lots of interesting people, you get invited to events and you always find out what’s happening locally.

However, it does have a down side. Over the ten years we’ve been publishing we have had dozens of complaints.  They’ve ranged from the perfectly acceptable to the downright rude and agenda guided.

Whenever we’ve been at fault with an article or an advert we’ve always gone out of our way to rectify it as quickly as possible. If we are wrong we’ll hold our hands up and admit it.

Sometimes we’re contacted by people angry at a story we’ve published.

We look at certain criteria before publishing potentially controversial stories. Top of that list is we ask ourselves if it’s in the public interest.

Recently we had a couple of examples. In our latest Radlett magazine we printed a story about a man who died during a sex party at a home in the village.

We worked hard to get the story as accurate as possible. We went through all the relevant sources to confirm the facts even speaking with the home owner who hosted the party.

The magazine was delivered but on the following Monday I received a complaint from a woman saying she did not want her children reading this sort of story.

In this case we stood our ground as the story was published in other local media and we felt this story was firmly in the public interest and locals had the right to know what was happening in their village.

The second ‘complaint’ was from a reader who took umbrage with our latest front cover story in our Abbots magazine. The article was about a woman who had been caught using her dead husband’s disabled blue badge permit.

The irate reader fired off a rude, abusive email which we calmly replied to stating facts. A story like that is in the public interest. We followed all correct procedures and if you or one of your family was disabled and robbed off a genuine parking space due to this kind of behaviour I think you would want to know.

For me it’s all part and parcel of running a news magazine business. Thankfully we get far more praise than we do complaints.

Thanks for reading,

Nik

PS: “News is something, someone, somewhere doesn’t want you to read. The rest is just advertising.” William Randolph Hurst

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