Having taken a verbal kicking over social media about not being invited to the funeral of tragic teenager, Amber Peat, I have to say, I agree with you all.
There are times as local news reporters when we feel pretty uncomfortable about doing our job, and this ranks right up there.
In the case of Amber Peat, it attracted media attention from across the country.
TV vans and cameras were everywhere during that search that ultimately ended so badly.
Then as soon as it’s not front-page news for these huge journalistic juggernauts, they lose interest and move to the next town.
We don’t. We’re the local newspaper. We have to continue working in these communities come hell or high water.
We can’t afford to upset local people with near-to-the-knuckle questions, or bang on doors demanding people speak with us or else.
The problem is, we’re tarred with the same brush as the national papers and TV companies.
That means you think we’ll doorstep you if you’ve been caught doing 32mph in a 30mph zone.
We’ll go through your bins looking for any baked bean-smeared utility bill which could incriminate you.
We’ll go digging through your old school reports so we can find out about who dumped you in year 8.
And of course, we’ll hack your phone.
This is the legacy the national press has left us, and because of that, we’re never above suspicion.
If the media weren’t invited to the funeral, then we respect that.
When we found out that the press were not invited, our entire office said the same thing: “We can see their point.”
We weren’t about to go crawling through hedges to get a quick snap, or chase mourners down the street for a soundbyte.
Believe it or not, it’s not what local journalism is about.