Trinity Mirror’s digital publishing chief has defended local press coverage of Wednesday’s London terror attack saying papers were merely reflecting what their readers were talking about.
He went to accuse local papers of reporting “spurious or non-existent” local angles and suggested they were guilty of “professional ambulance chasing.”
But Trinity Mirror Regionals digital publishing director David Higgerson refuted the claim, arguing that local people are “perfectly happy to get national news from a local news site.”
In a post on his personal blog, David wrote: “Put simply, newsrooms responded to what their audiences were talking about. Just because we, as journalists, mark out our work between national news organisations and local ones doesn’t mean our readers do.
“That is perhaps best evidenced by looking at some of the social media posts shared by local news organisations over the past 24 hours. They show that what some dismiss as ‘spurious local angles’ are actually of interest to local readers, while others demonstrate that local people are perfectly happy to get national news from a local news site, because they trust it as a news source.”
David then highlighted a series of Facebook posts by local news providers about the attack all of which had gained hundreds of likes and shares.
They included this image of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed in the attack, published on the Facebook page of Sheffield daily The Star with the words: “PC Keith Palmer. Husband. Father. National hero. R.I.P.”
Added David: “To me, the posts show that regional coverage of a national news event is not about ‘chasing clicks’, it’s about being part of a conversation with your readers every day, and when they start seeking information about a national news event, it makes sense that they turn to the source they interact with on most days.
“My view is simple: The regional press demonstrated yesterday that it can play a vital role in the sharing of information in real-time, and be trusted to report respectfully on events which have had such tragic consequences.”