Editor’s comment: Think before you dismiss the local press

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 May 2018


In the space of a few hours this week, the Islington Gazette was accused by a former councillor of making up a story simply to damage Labour’s chances in the election, and by a random member of the public of being a mouthpiece for the same party.

Days earlier, a Labour councillor from that group we apparently are too afraid to piss off had specifically telephoned me because they were, well, pissed off at the way they had been portrayed in one of our stories. Ever feel like you can’t win?

The job of a journalist is necessarily one in which you ruffle feathers. And that’s OK. People with agendas, who are often great sources of tip-offs, tend to perceive balance as bias. People with egos don’t generally like seeing themselves through other people’s eyes, rarely considering that this might be how they genuinely come across. And so on.

But in the seven years since the Leveson inquiry, these kneejerk reactions have become hopelessly mixed up with all kinds of completely valid concerns about illegal and unethical behaviour by newspapers stretching over decades. The consequence is that our reputations are shot. People who don’t like us now think we are unaccountable and permanently acting at the fringes of legality just because we have annoyed them. Truth is, we are bound by some of the strictest media law in the world, and a tough new regulatory body that can fine us. We don’t have a lot of money. We have to do our jobs well or we’ll go out of business.

The process of building trust in local papers is a slow one but, to be blunt, a race against time before the bottom falls out of the industry. Now, more than ever, we need the support of the readers our national competitors have systematically alienated. No, you can’t believe everything you read, but you can believe us. We can’t afford for you not to.

Latest Islington Stories


Former Barcelona bigwig Raul Sanllehi has become ‘head of football’ at Arsenal after Ivan Gazidis confirmed his departure to AC Milan on Tuesday morning.


Ivan Gazidis has left Arsenal to join AC Milan.

22 minutes ago

Two rogue landlords have been prosecuted for dangerous and sub-standard conditions after Islington Council found 35 people living in a two bedroom flat in Grosvenor Avenue.


Arsenal under-23s were held to a goalless draw by their Blackburn Rovers rivals at Ewood Park on Monday.


Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little fired hat-tricks as Arsenal Women showed their class and superior fitness to beat Lewes 9-0 in the FA WSL Continental Tyres League Cup.

Yesterday, 23:01

Arsenal are expecting unsettled CEO Ivan Gazidis to end the speculation about his future as talks with suitors AC Milan are set to reach a conclusion shortly.

Yesterday, 19:26

Emily Thornberry today branded Universal Credit a “complicated and intimidating system” while speaking at a community conference in Holloway Road.

Yesterday, 17:33

Senior coroner Mary Hassell has today unveiled the new policy that will dictate how her office decides which deaths to deal with first.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now