When describing The Lichfield Blog I will often include the word ‘impartial’ into the mix. Perhaps our slogan should be ‘blog by name, news by nature’!
It’s a stance decided long ago – that we would only ever tell people what’s happening and never tell them what to think about that.
Instead, we allow the community to decide themselves what they think about it and express that through the comments section on every article.
You could say we have faith in people to have the intelligence to make up their own minds, however mis-placed some think that to be. Personally, I believe that’s the right thing to do.
Now, via Nigel Barlow I read a post criticising the Manchester Evening News’ “anti-government” stance over cuts.
The author, Steve Middleton, says that the MEN shouldn’t be setting the agenda in this way but merely reporting on the issue instead.
Obviously by this point you’d expect me to agree with me. However, the ongoing issue of the HS2 route through Lichfield was picked up by my local paper, the Lichfield Mercury who ran, and encouraged signatories to, a petition against the proposed line.
I actually considered this to be a good thing as it gave local residents and businesses more of a chance to make their voice heard to Government.
So, should local newspapers and indeed local hyperlocal news* sites be impartial and allow the community to make up their mind? Or can they be biased and carry a one-sided view and still serve their readership well?
One thing to consider is where an area only has one local paper to rely on…
* Note I’m talking about a sub-set of the hyperlocal genre here.