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News chief hits back at inquest complaints after report ‘saves life’ of reader

Jeff ReinesA content chief has hit out at readers who complain about inquest reports after one such story prompted a woman to get potentially life-saving help.

Jeff Reines, content editor at Cornwall Live, says inquest reports are increasingly becoming the “most complained about” type of story by readers of the website.

But Jeff, pictured, has hit back after receiving a note of thanks from one reader¬†who sought help for addiction to prescription painkillers as a result of Cornwall Live’s coverage of an inquest into the death of a woman who died after taking too much medication.

Posting the reader’s email on Twitter along with a link to the piece that prompted it, Jeff said it “may have saved at least one life”.

Speaking to HTFP, he said: “Covering inquests is one of the most contentious jobs we do and, increasingly, the one about which we receive the most complaints.

“At Cornwall Live understand and fully appreciate how sensitive and distressing they – and the reporting of them – can be for friends and loved ones.

“We always try to work with the families of the deceased and we take great care in how we report the hearings, both of which are more difficult as they are currently held over the phone in Cornwall; not even on screen.

“I am constantly explaining the reasons we publish inquest reports, predominantly the public interest in lessons that can be learned from these tragedies so that further similar deaths may be avoided.

“Unfortunately, some who complain still don’t accept this; either that it’s right or justified or we’re not simply after ‘clicks’.”

Jeff, pictured, went on to discuss the reader’s email he received.

He added: “This is one reason I was so delighted, despite the tragic circumstances, to receive the message from a reader which said that our article about an inquest into the overdose death of a young woman addicted to prescription medication had prompted her to get the help she needed for a similar problem.

“The vindication of our work was summed up in those few words.

“There are a lot of reasons I do this job but I don’t think any will ever be better than that.”

Cornwall Live reporter Sam Beamish attended the hearing.

Sam said: “Covering inquests is difficult. There’s an extremely hard balance to strike. We don’t want to upset people, at the same time we have an important job to do.

“We cover each inquest with the same question in our minds – what can people learn from this tragedy? How can we prevent something like this happening again? This was one of the times we got it right.

“And I’m pleased to know this woman has found the help she needs.

“Prescription painkillers are not always safe and hopefully by reporting inquests like this we are helping to break that stigma.

“I have also spoken to the family about the message. They have said it’s good to know someone has been helped even if it’s just one person, it’s better than no one.”