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Petrol station bans former editor over placement of story

A former weekly editor has been banned by a filling station on her former patch in a row over story placement.

Linda Roberts, who was executive editor of the Bangor Mail and North Wales Weekly News until last December, was told she would not be welcome at a Texaco filling station near Bangor.

Its owner Manny Shoker was unhappy with a decision Linda previously made to place a story about a £3,000 cheque donation from one of his other businesses, Kwiksave on Bangor High Street, on page three of the Bangor Mail rather than the front.

The incident was covered on the news website Wales Express.com, which Linda is now editing.

The petrol station which banned former Linda Roberts.  Picture by Wales Express.

The petrol station which banned former editor Linda Roberts. Picture by Wales Express.com

Linda explained: “At the time, I received a deeply unpleasant phone call from Mr Shoker, who was livid that his donation had only made it to page three, and that threats to cut a vital bus service for schoolchildren had made it to page one, a position he felt his generous donation deserved.

“I told Mr Shoker that he was lucky that his story had made it to page three, as there are many wonderful people in our communities raising thousands of pounds for various charities and not only do they do so without asking for publicity, they actually shun it.

“I think that schoolchildren having to face a long and dangerous walk to school because their bus service was under threat, was a good story, it affected the pupils and their families, and I stand by my decision to give it more prominent placement than a cheque presentation.

“His reaction was that he thought I should be sacked for my editorial judgement!”

Linda, now executive editor for Wales Express.com, said she was shocked when she walked into the Beran petrol station on Friday morning, to be confronted by Mr Shoker, who told her that he would prefer it if she did not come back to the filling station again.

She said: “It was embarassing in all honesty, he did it in front of other customers, and I feel that he has no understanding whatsover about journalism or newspapers.

“He obviously made his grand gesture in order to get publicity and was peeved when it didn’t get the attention he felt it deserved.

“Time has obviously not mellowed Mr Shoker’s attitude, and I am more than happy never to darken his door again!”

13 comments

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  • March 4, 2015 at 7:52 am
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    Good for Linda. I always felt uneasy about companies who give a few quid to a good cause…and then expect massive publicity, often far in excess of the amount of ad space they could have purchased with the same amount of money!

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:18 am
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    Calling walesexpress.com a news website is an insult to the term. A more accurate description would be pressrelease.com.

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:44 am
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    I hope the story about the editor being banned from the filling station is used in the Bangor Mail and North Wales Weekly News. It should be – preferably on the front page!
    Somehow I doubt it will be though.

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:48 am
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    I hope they now give this guy the sort of local publicity he deserves!!
    Preferably with locations of other filling stations worth trying!!

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:52 am
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    But this is UGC at its finest….

    I josh – but shouldn’t there be some sort of comment from the man himself? Balanced reporting, that sort of thing?

    And why is there an exclamation mark in her comment?

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    I’m assuming the uppity shopkeeper was also an advertiser in the paper. More evidence of how the commercial tail now seems to feel it has the right to wag the editorial dog. Good on her for resisting, but similar battles are being lost up and down the land on a daily basis, I suspect, as the Telegraph and HSBC amply demonstrates

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  • March 4, 2015 at 10:04 am
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    Are papers still filling holes with cheque presentations? Really? He was lucky it made the paper at all. Give someone a cheque, by all means. But be modest and keep it out of the paper.

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  • March 4, 2015 at 11:03 am
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    Perhaps Mr Shoker is cannier than may be thought. He now has another splodge of publicity for his meagre charity cheque (3 months on) – and now a free puff for his second business! They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – and he may well be right.

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  • March 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm
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    Ms Roberts should fill up her car at Mr Shuker’s garage and then pay for it with a giant cheque.

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  • March 4, 2015 at 4:12 pm
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    When I was an editor, I banned giant cheques from the paper for two good reasons.
    Firstly, it was obvious that the cheques were a cynical promotional ploy by the ‘givers’ and the banks whose names were emblazoned across them. Much cheaper than buying advertising space.
    Secondly, cheque presentation pictures were as dreary as hell, a sure turn-off for readers on a par with ‘firing squads’ and ‘grip and grins’.
    In this instance, Mr Shoker’s cheque got more prominent coverage than it deserved. Somewhere near the back would have been more appropriate. Or perhaps even the bin.
    As for his forecourt ban, no problem. No doubt the petrol is cheaper at Asda anyway.

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