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Race and faith writing to come under the microscope

Best practice in reporting on race and faith is being sought out for a new advice booklet for journalists.

The Home Office-funded initiative is backed by the Society of Editors and the Media Trust.

It is being put together by former editor Geoff Elliott, the founding president of the Society of Editors.

But with his experience editing the Portsmouth News, Coventry Evening Telegraph and Kent Messenger, he said the idea was not to tell editors how to run their newspapers.

He said: “From time to time we can all learn from others, and there are notable examples of good practice that may help to reduce the offence that can sometimes be caused to the vulnerable.”

Different faiths and agencies working among immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are also being consulted.

Bob Satchwell, director of the Society of Editors, said the booklet would help journalists in the way they had begun to learn to avoid pitfalls in writing about disabled people and people with mental illnesses.

He said: “There is after all compelling business as well as ethical reasons for doing the job knowledgeably and without causing offence. Readership can depend on it.”

The project developed from discussions of a group called together by the Community Cohesion Unit at the Home Office.

Senior journalists from national and regional newspapers are involved, including Nick Carter, editor of the Leicester Mercury.

Geoff wants to hear from anyone with a contribution to make. He can be contacted on 01297 553510 or elliott@willow.fsnet.co.uk

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