Media shift 'could benefit UK domestic charities'

Indira Das-Gupta

Domestic charities could see a revival in their fortunes as the media turns its coverage away from international disasters.

This prediction was made by Kamal Ahmed, executive editor of news at The Observer, during a Media Trust seminar for charities last week.

"I think poverty fatigue may be setting in among national newspapers," he said.

"Papers are pack organisations and for the past 18 months their perspective has been very internationally focused. But there's a pendulum, and I think it's about to swing back in favour of domestic charities and we will see the media focus more on problems at home."

Ahmed, who was involved in The Observer's relaunch in the Berliner format earlier this year, said the paper, like most of the press, had consciously become more positive in its outlook.

"The Observer could be unremittingly bleak, but you have got to give people solutions, otherwise they feel helpless," he said. "If you run a story that says 'Let's solve Aids', it's overwhelming."

Ahmed also argued that charities should not be afraid of presenting more complicated messages to the public.

"I get the impression that, with many charities, everything is black or white. For example, when Oxfam did a report on Make Poverty History one year on, it was presented as if it had all been a failure - but it wasn't.

"Some things have worked and others haven't."

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