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Editor denies 'confidentiality breach'

A newspaper editor is denying he broke a gentlemen’s agreement to bring an exclusive update on a running story to the people of Rugby.

Rugby Observer editor Chris Smith is a member of the Town Centre Company, and sits in its meetings as a member, not a journalist.

A report which appeared in his newspaper about a potential hotel development and tourist attraction in the area has led to accusations from the local council that he broke a confidentiality agreement.

But Chris claims the details came from a separate source – and says he doesn’t recall the matter being discussed at a meeting he attended.

The Observer’s competitor, the Rugby Advertiser, has reported that at a meeting this week, Rugby Borough Council’s head of technical services Ian Davis said that the story, although speculative, contained so many “facts” it was “fair to assume they had been gathered at the private meeting”.

He added that although this was not a serious breach of confidence, the paper should not have been news-gathering.

Chris said: “I am a member of the Town Centre Company and have an agreement with the managing director and chairman that I don’t use anything from the meetings in the paper without prior agreement.

“I’m trying to clarify when the issue was discussed as I’m not sure if I was even at the meeting.

“As far as I am concerned the information didn’t come from the meeting and most of what was in the story was already in the public domain.

“I’m happy that we have breached no confidentiality.”

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