To print or not to print
What would you do if the chairman of the local bench was up in his own court for shoplifting, threatened to pull his firm’s advertising if you ran a word of it and your staff urged caution because his wife had heart problems? Oh, and he was a pillar of the local community, did shedloads for charity and was a big golfing buddy of your chairman.
Yep – the poor sod gets 100pt Ariel Bold across the front page, a decent turn inside on his wife’s sudden heart attack and a cross-ref to a leader on how we expect our betters to set an example.
Obvious, yes? But not to the journalists of the future, apparently. The scenario is one used in media workshops run by the Independent Schools Careers Office to make candidates think about the dilemmas they could be facing in the real world.
Over two days last week, 40 of the 70-odd candidates from schools such as Eton and Cheltenham, said they’d either not publish it at all, or tuck it away inside so as not to sensationalise. A few said the decision was purely commercial, but most sympathised with his position and didn’t want to upset his wife.
Where does this come from? It’s not as if these extremely bright youngsters, all destined for our top universities, don’t read newspapers.
Could it be that these papers simply give a more caring impression than some of us may imagine?