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Reporter slams readers’ ‘hateful attack’ over spelling error

Emily RobertsA reporter has hit back at her abusers after being subjected to a “hateful attack” over a spelling error.

Basingstoke Gazette journalist Emily Roberts has criticised “nasty commenters” after she was mocked on Facebook over the mistake.

Emily, pictured, was moved to write a first-person piece in response to the criticism after an erroneous letter ‘t’ accidentally changed ‘plans’ to ‘plants’ in one of her stories.

In the piece, headlined ‘A spelling mistake doesn’t give you the right to verbally abuse me’, she said her “heart sank” when she saw a “long string of comments mocking me and my skills on Facebook”.

Emily wrote: “I really should have learned by now to ignore spiteful comments from members of the public. However, there are times when I can’t help but take them to heart. This was one of those occasions.”

“One particularly nasty commenter spitefully suggested that no wonder I can only get a job at the Gazette. Another had taken the trouble to screenshot the mistake and draw an arrow pointing to it. It’s saddening that she thought this to be a constructive use of her time.

“Surely, a polite and friendly comment pointing out the mistake would have sufficed, and it could have been promptly changed, causing no offence. I could have even taken a bit of banter.

“It was the comment about working for the Gazette which angered and hurt me the most. The Gazette reaches more people now than it has in its entire history but is written by a smaller team than ever before.

“I am proud to work for my local paper, and I am proud to serve the community, uncovering stories that matter, which would otherwise never be in the public domain.”

Emily went on to say that while she could accept criticism and regretted the error, such a “hateful” attack could never be justified.

She added: “It is comments like this which often come from those who read content from the Gazette for free. They don’t pay for a subscription, they don’t buy the paper, yet they think they have a right to complain and moan when articles contain mistakes. They also choose to follow our Facebook page.

“Local journalism cannot survive without local people getting behind it and paying to access it. Yes, some articles contain mistakes, and that is as frustrating for us as it is for our readers.

“But minor mistakes don’t mean we can’t do our jobs. They creep in from time to time because we are such a small team, writing hundreds of articles each week and doing our absolute best to serve the community, question authority, and bring you the news that matters.”