The editor of a regional daily that has built its reputation on eschewing sensationalism has taken a reflective look back at its 140 years of existence.
The East Anglian Daily Times first hit the streets on 13 October 1874 and since then 44,170 editions of the paper have been published.
In its inaugural issue, the paper’s first editor Sir Frederick Wilson pledged that it would report events “faithfully and fairly” and avoid “editorial advice or misrepresentation.”
Now its current editor, Terry Hunt, has written a first-person piece reflecting on how the paper sought to remain true to those founding values.
Wrote Terry, pictured: “Throughout those 14 decades, the EADT has at all times sought to report fairly and honestly, proudly keeping faith with the guiding principles which were set out by our first editor in the very first edition of this newspaper.
“Never sensational in character, the EADT has always fought for what’s best for the communities it serves, throughout Suffolk and North Essex. Staying true to Sir Frederick’s promises, the ‘Anglian’ will never presume to tell it readers what to think. Instead, it seeks to set out the arguments and then leave people to reach their own conclusions.
“It’s been a long journey since October 13, 1874. The world has changed so much. And so has the EADT, at least in the way it looks. We carry news on the front page these days!
“But in character, I believe the newspaper stays true to its roots. I hope that if Sir Frederick was able to come back, just for one day, and read an up to date copy of his ‘Daily Times,’ then he would approve.
In a separate piece, also published in Monday’s anniversary edition, Terry focuses on the issue of journalistic ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
“Newspaper ethics have been much in the news recently, and a lot of it has made for very uncomfortable reading for journalists. Laws have been broken and people’s lives badly affected by some national newspapers chasing “scoops.’’ Some of the behaviour has been utterly shameful,” he wrote.
“I can assure you that not all newspapers, or journalists, are the same. The cornerstone of the EADT’s relationship with its readers and advertisers is trust. Research tells us that people trust the stories we print. It is the most precious and important attribute that we have, and every young journalist who joins us is in no doubt about that.
“We don’t hack people’s phones, or have “agendas’’ – hidden or otherwise – against people or organisations. Our only “agenda” is to do whatever we can to help make Suffolk and north Essex as successful and safe as possible.”