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Battle goes to war with the nationals – again!

For the second time in as many months, the Battle Observer has become involved in a row with a national newspaper journalist.

In November, HoldtheFrontPage told how the paper confronted Independent writer Caroline Stacey over a feature in which she criticised the standard of pub grub in the area.

Now the Observer has been having words with Adam Nicolson of the Daily Telegraph after he wrote an article which appeared to criticise the whole town.

In a two page report about the Food Rooms, a new greengrocers and delicatessan in the town centre, Mr Nicolson said Battle was a town with no commercial heart where ‘normality slops along the pavements’.

The comments prompted a furious reaction from Battle traders and the Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter of protest to the Daily Telegraph.

When Observer reporter Dominic Tomsford rang the Telegraph, Adam Nicolson made a full and unreserved apology.

He said: “In my enthusiasm for the Food Rooms, I denigrated Battle unfairly and I was in inaccurate in my description of the shopping facilities.”

But the interview took place on Thursday morning – just as that week’s Observer was going to press.

This wouldn’t have been a problem – except that week’s edition just happened to feature a front page article where local traders vented their fury at Nicolson.

This in turn angered Nicolson who claimed that the article made it look like he had declined to comment when in fact he had been happy to take back his remarks.

The Battle Observer said they had tried ringing Nicolson on Wednesday but he had not been in his office.

Nicolson replied by saying they should have called him earlier in the week when he was freely available to comment.

The Observer ended the row by printing Mr Nicolson’s apology in full the following week.

Reporter Dominic Tomsford said: “It’s all sorted out now. Adam wasn’t very happy but he’s glad his true feelings were eventually made clear.”

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