NCVO commissions report into media coverage of the voluntary sector

Martyn Lewis, chair of the umbrella body and former newsreader, announces that a journalist will talk to newspapers editors about how they report sector initiatives

Martyn Lewis
Martyn Lewis

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has commissioned a report into why the voluntary sector does not receive more positive coverage in the national media.

Martyn Lewis, chair of the NCVO and former ITN newsreader, announced the project at the umbrella body’s annual conference in London this morning.

He said the NCVO had commissioned a journalist who had worked in the national media to talk to national newspapers editors to discuss why the voluntary sector and its initiatives were not covered more in the press. Lewis declined to name the journalist.

Speaking to Third Sector afterwards, he said: "I just thought that it was time that the tremendous work that goes on in the voluntary sector, which has a key influence on the social fabric of our country, was covered by the national media."

Lewis said that one of his own suggestions to increase the coverage received by the voluntary sector was what he called "solutions-based journalism".

"I'm suggesting when an editor sends a reporter out on a negative story that as part of the coverage of that story the reporter should find what individuals or organisations are doing to tackle the problem represented by the negative headline and where possible to include a few paragraphs about that in the body of the story," he said

Lewis said he also believed the national media had a part to play in getting people to volunteer. "A third of the adult population are involved in volunteering but it also means two third are not," he said

"We need to reach them and we need the help of the national media to do it."

He said the NCVO expected to receive the report in the next few weeks. He said it was likely to publish what actions it would take as a result of the report, rather than the report itself.

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