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Chief reporter hits back at online ‘abuse’ from fellow journalist

Bev HolderA weekly newspaper’s chief reporter has hit back at “abuse” she has received from a fellow journalist online.

Bev Holder, of the Stourbridge News, has shared a critical message she was sent by the unnamed journalist, from whom she says she has received regular emails for “probably the last decade”.

Bev, pictured, who is also one of three reporters involved in the running of Newsquest’s data investigations unit, has kept the identity of the journalist in question anonymous, other than to note that he is retired.

The sender of the email claimed to have offered Bev advice based on his “star-studded” career, but believed his observations had been “thrown back” in his face.

In the email, which Bev shared on Twitter, the journalist wrote: “Over the years, I’ve offered you advice based in (sic) my long – and star-studded- career in journalism. I have expected nothing in return but a receptive – and hopefully grateful – ear.

“But, in general, my observations have been thrown back in my face.”

He then went on to compare the situation to former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson offering tips about football to the manager of Lye Town, a non-league team who play near Stourbridge, only to be “told to push off”.

On Twitter, Bev wrote: “This is the kind of abuse I’m having to put up with from a fellow, albeit retired, journo who thinks in my lowly local paper role I should be more responsive to his tips about doing journalism the old fashioned way.”

Bev told HTFP that while some of the retired journalist’s tips had been gratefully received and acted upon, others had been “kicked into the long grass.”

She said: “I have never met him and certainly have never spoken to him in the way he sees fit to address me  – using his ‘award-winning’ background as an excuse for his regular rudeness and insults.

“How newsgathering is done and the pressure on newsrooms now is completely different to how it was even five years ago so it’s absurd that he thinks he could do a better job in any newsroom than those currently working in them who are fast at finding news and publishing it – and in receipt of training on the latest digital trends, platforms and investigative methods.

“In addition to the rants from this particular former hack – myself and my colleagues receive fairly regular abuse on social media from other members of the public.

Added Bev: “I try to forget them and just get on with things – but not before spending a good chunk of my evenings or weekends stewing over them… to the point that I question why I like journalism anymore if every time you post a story you’re going to be insulted or degraded online about what you did or didn’t write.

“It’s always been said that you need a thick skin to be a journalist – but in these times, where it’s a free for all to say the wildest things on social media, even having the skin of a rhino doesn’t help.”


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  • October 28, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I think you should name him Bev, or at least provide his initials so people with a clue as to his identity would know if they’re on the right track! I suspect his award wasn’t up to much either.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Ignore him, Bev, though I know that’s easier said than done. Good luck anyway!

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  • October 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Always amused me when an editor who was from a previous generation of reporters tried to dish out advice.

    Went to a scene of a suspected rape once with a copper stood outside the cordon. Editor told me to ‘walk up to the officer and demand to know the name of the victim or you’re not leaving’.

    Needless to say, I went to McDonald’s instead.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Makes you wonder if he really is/was a journalist.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Are we sure that in comparing himself to Alex Ferguson and Bev to the Lye Town manager, this mysterious former hack is not actually attempting to shower our Stourbridge correspondent with praise? Maybe not if this missive arrived in the last couple of weeks I guess, but that’s another story.
    As a former colleague of Bev’s in that office, I’d absolutely love to know who it is.
    And can I just point out for the sake of clarity, the inclusion of the words stellar and award winning clearly indicate I’m not the guilty party.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    A decade of that sort of thing is enough. Tell him to get stuffed. PS. Who is he?

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  • October 28, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    When I worked as a reporter I found the vast majority of old hacks living on the patch were fairly supportive and helpful. However, there were also one or two who seemed unable to accept they no longer worked there and would take great delight in pointing out mistakes they’d spotted or would bang on about how much harder everybody worked in their day (without any evidence to back this up). Annoying, but not as bad as what Bev’s had to put up with.

    The demise of sub-editors and cuts in senior editorial staff mean newsrooms are crying out for experienced old heads to point out to young reporters the correct way to go about things. But there are ways to go about it and constantly building yourself up as some kind of journalistic superstar isn’t the way to do it, especially if you aren’t even on the payroll. It would seem from Bev’s version of events that this is a particularly difficult individual who creates more headaches than he solves for the news team and they are better off without him.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Sounds like he’s a dinosaur dingbat and should best be ignored. Yes, standards have been forced down because of cuts but I’m sure these youngsters are usually doing their best. I’m retired now but fingers often twitch to point out slipshod boo-boos but I manage to restrain myself. V.Meldrew

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