Media to get guidance on covering poverty

A new guide for journalists on how to report poverty issues more responsibly is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and will be published in November.

The guide, Reporting Poverty, will be written by David Seymour, a leader writer at The Daily Mail and a former political editor at The Daily Mirror.

A series of four regional workshops, culminating in a session in London yesterday, were organised by Media Trust and the Joseph Rowntree to help inform the book.

It follows on the heels of another guide, Reporting Diversity, published 18 months ago and funded by the Cohesion and Faith Unit at the Home Office.

The general consensus among speakers at the event in London, which included Big Issue founder Bird, was that while reporting poverty has “substantially improved” in the past 15 years, there is still room for improvement.

However, Seymour warned against nagging journalists. “Charities can do more too,” he said. “They need to understand how the media works – you can’t control journalists.

“There will be times when a charity may spend time with one, only for the story to turn out very differently to how they hoped. But it’s better to try and lose, than not try and at all.”

Seymour also advised charities to try to build long-term relationships with journalists. “Then you can at least call up and discuss what went wrong and perhaps write a letter to the editor, clarifying key points,” he said.

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