Fine line of reporting tragedy in local journalism | Nicola Adam column #RIPLittleMan
I usually leave this column for the wry, lighter, asides of a time-served journalist buffeted through life like everyone else.
But as an editor this week I am not feeling particularly light-hearted.
It’s hard to explain, as it clashes with the preferred rhetoric about the media, what an impact the loss of a little nine-year-old boy has had on anybody who lives, work and raises their own children in the same community – journalist or not.
Our role is to report. But the loss of young Jordan Banks almost seemed too personal.
Many of our team have children the same age, some played football with him, others remembered reporting about him – a youngster raising money in memory of a dearly loved lost uncle.
There he was, smiling and joking for our photographer’s camera, found in pictures in our library taken earlier this year.
In other words, the feeling of our staff, in themselves a microcosm of the local community, perfectly reflected how others felt too. Deeply shocked.
As the nationwide and worldwide media arrived here in our home town, we determined to follow a different path. We report, frequently, on shocking and distressing situations with compassion and our most difficult days are those when we are trying to report a news story thoroughly yet sensitively which lands squarely on our doorstep.
This was just such a time and although our role required us to be informative and up-to-date, we wanted to accurately convey the remarkable response, the depths of feeling for the loss of Jordan, the generosity of the wider community in rallying to do anything to help in an absolutely devastating situation.
This is not just a story we have the responsibility of sharing, it’s a grieving process for Jordan’s family, for those who love him, for those who played football and went to school with him, and for those whose lives will never be the same.
Reporting on this, for true local media, is like walking a fine line and we hope we have, and are doing, Jordan justice. #RIPLittleMan
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