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When I trained as a journalist more years ago than I care to remember, it was drummed into me that those in my profession should report on the news – as it stood – and take care not to put our own slant on the story to suit our personal feelings or perhaps promote a hidden agenda.
It may be that times have changed since then… or perhaps I had better training than some… but I’ve well and truly joined the ranks of those that say: “You don’t want to believe everything you read in the papers/see on the news”.
This week for example, people have been up in arms about the BBC’s pro-EU stance perhaps having been ‘bought’ by grants from the EU itself (the journalists are now going to be trained in anti-bias or something!) while certain national newspapers - clearly campaigning for weekly household waste collections if we didn’t realise it before, are using the news that fly-tipping is on the increase to pretend that this is down to householders dumping the extra rubbish that won’t fit into their dustbins, out in the countryside.
The real news on that is below – and if you trouble yourself as I did, to click on the link to the report and read it for yourself, you’ll see that fly tipping incidences involving black plastic bags of the type most householders use for their waste, stood at 11% of the total in 2007/08 (when we had weekly collections) but have now decreased to 5% (with household waste only being collected fortnightly). Talk about bending the news to suit your agenda!
It takes the cleaning industry to lead the way on accurate reporting, with the press release accompanying the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s report, ‘The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector’. The report, which had the input of many cleaning industry players, admits that while much of the industry is looking after the cleaning staff as it should, a great deal more needs to be done to bring the rest of the employers into line. Admitting that there’s a problem – and being honest about what it is – gives everyone a far better opportunity to do something to rectify it than they have if the problem’s been dishonestly reported, doesn’t it?
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22nd October 2015