Editorial: Good news, great news, sensationalism and scaremongering

Sunday Supplement

Our detailed look back on the stories that we have been talking about in Moray…..

Lilian MacDonald – international sales

Follow Up….

Where there is news on the news I plan to use this weekly editorial to provide it – follow-ups on stories we have covered in recent weeks.

Sunny the Elgin Pooch

This week we told of Sunny the Elgin Dog whose owners Jen and Emma Robbie had launched a crowdfunding bit to raise cash for a wheelchair after Sunny lost the use of his back legs.

We are delighted to note that the community rallied around and as a result Sunny’s online appeal has reached over £400 – so more than £50 over the target required. Well done to everyone who has donated.

Lilian MacDonald

When insideMoray was first to report on the fantastic Elgin singer Lilian MacDonald’s efforts to raise funds for a cancer charity it caused a media storm.

Lilian’s story was soon picked up by my former colleagues at Scottish Television and from there it hit the local and national press. That helped her wonderful tribute song ‘Never be Alone’ to hit the UK download charts.

I’m delighted to see that Lilian (who will appear live at Logan’s Fun Day in Lossiemouth next weekend) has announced the single raised £1405.33 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Lilian said that over 2560 copies of the song was downloaded – including over 250 in the United States with others going out to 18 other countries including China.

Great news all round, well done Lilian!

Editorial

Scaremonger and sensationalism – two words used recently to describe reporting on insideMoray, amazing how people see things when they don’t agree with what they are reading.

Or come to that what they are not reading, as is all too often the case thanks in part to the ever growing popularity of our community news sites’ Facebook page.

I love Facebook and to a lesser extent all Social Media outlets that have provided everyone with a voice on the most controversial or (and generally more popular) most trivial events.

But… and there had to be one… the original heart of the world wide web, pages of internet sites themselves, are all too often being overshadowed by the very Social Media sites they spawn.

Thing is, Social Media is quick, easy and informative – but it has its limits and the problem is those limits are being ignored by too many who forget where the space and freedom to publish the whole story still remains.

[box] ….every second post on Facebook is now dominated by close and not nearly so close friends throwing buckets of ice water over their heads….[/box] I’m probably not the only one either who this week has on the one hand admired the message behind the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ – but on the other hand is being left for dead by the fact that every second post on Facebook is now dominated by close and not nearly so close friends throwing buckets of ice water over their heads.

Anyway, I digress – scaremongering and sensationalism. Problem with the internet is that it is the most immediate form of written communication we have ever known – and with that comes the simplicity in which you can at one fell swoop gain and lose friends by the hundred!

I did not come through the professional ranks of journalism (as a fair few local journalists are keen to remind me from time to time). Any writing skills I learned came from experience, from reading a great deal and from observing the media at work from very close quarters.

[box] Not once in the thousands of articles I’ve written over the years have I set out to scare the reader into believing one line or another.[/box] It would be easy for me to say I don’t do sensationalism, but I’m honest enough with myself to admit that yes, from time to time I do that because used ‘professionally’ it attracts the attention of the reader, it draws them into a story that otherwise they might think was not for them but very often is – and, O.K., sometimes they feel duped.

What is very easy for me to do, however, is say categorically that I do not do scaremongering.

Not once in the thousands of articles I’ve written over the years have I set out to scare the reader into believing one line or another. The only time I came close – when working in politics – I quickly withdrew myself from the job I was doing because that type of reporting is not to my taste.

So my message this Sunday is don’t shoot the messenger when you don’t agree with the message told in a news story on this site.

Reporting the views of people in the community, following a line through their hopes and concerns, trying to give a voice to those who are otherwise ignored – that is the message of community news sites such as this one.

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