A weekly newspaper’s head of news has hit out at “embarrassing and irresponsible” national and international journalists over their coverage of recent major events on her patch.
The Salisbury Journal’s Rebecca Hudson, left, has criticsed some media outlets over their reporting of a police incident in Salisbury on Thursday night.
Rebecca accused the Daily Star, Australia’s Channel Ten Eyewitness News and Israel’s Walla News of “jumping on the bandwagon” by linking the incident to the alleged Novichok poisonings of four people in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury in recent months.
A 33-year-old man was cautioned by Wiltshire Police after being arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, and the force has stressed the incident was not linked to the ongoing poisoning investigations.
The Star’s Nicholas Bieber had reported the scene of the incident was “yards” from where one of the poisoning victims lived, adding Salisbury was on “lockdown”, while Channel Ten and Walla’s Guy Elster both reported a man had fallen ill at the same Zizzi restaurant where two of the victims had dined.
“There was no victim, no new poisoning, Salisbury isn’t on ‘lockdown’ and Zizzi has been closed since March. Embarrassing and irresponsible jumping on the bandwagon, not journalism.”
Speaking to HTFP, Rebecca added: “In a time when Salisbury is working towards recovery, it is a real shame some journalists are more interested in getting hits on a breaking story than waiting for the facts.
“Thursday night’s incident – which was never once suggested to be related to the ongoing nerve agent investigation by any emergency services – brought out the worst of some outlets.
“Our city has gone through a lot in the past four months and scaremongering every time a bit of police tape goes up does nothing for the general levels of anxiety and frustration.
“It is disappointing to see these reports sparking speculation and distrust among members of our community, who read things like the articles I mentioned last night and think they are based on fact – rather than realising it is just poor journalism.”
HTFP has approached Nicholas, Guy and channel Ten for comments.