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Weekly slams abusers who dubbed reporters ‘clowns’ and urged them to quit

Lee Trewhela 1A weekly newspaper has hit back after its journalists were dubbed “clowns”, urged to resign and told they “should be ashamed” by online abusers.

The Falmouth Packet has hit back at readers who consider journalists to be “fair game” for abuse after a recent spate of attacks on its reporters.

The abusers were criticised in the Packet’s ‘Skipper’ column in which it also touched upon the departure of chief reporter Lee Trewhela, pictured, from rival title Cornwall Live.

HTFP reported last month how Lee, who formerly worked on the Packet, had cited social media abuse as a factor in his decision to leave the regional press industry after 30 years of service.

The Skipper column stated: “While his loss to the industry is sad, what is sadder still is one of the reasons he gave for his decision – the systematic online abuse of journalists, almost on a daily basis.”

It added: “Regrettably it is something every journalist can appreciate and understand.

“In the past week alone Packet journalists have been told they are ‘a clown’, should resign and ‘should be ashamed’ – in all instances simply for reporting on matters other people have to come to us for help with, and for quoting that person.

“Imagine if someone walked into your house – and remember that this is where all journalists work from now, for at least part of the week – pointed their finger in your face and started shouting at you ‘You should be ashamed!’

“Arguably you’d think about calling the police. But because it is on a computer screen it’s deemed acceptable and journalists are seen as ‘fair game’, just like MPs (who, let’s remember, are also just human beings with feelings and families at the end of the day).

“#bekind is quoted so much these days it almost loses its meaning, but for those who consider the above behaviour acceptable let me ask one question: Would you be happy if someone did this to you, and if not why are you doing it to someone else?”