Two stories last week in Rye News attracted some comments, and raised some questions about what is “news”.
One concerned up to seven emergency vehicles (fire and ambulance) being involved for at least two hours in getting one patient to their hospital appointment.
Had there been a real emergency (such as a fire) I wonder what would have happened to the patient? And there is another issue called “risk assessment”. How was this situation allowed to arise in the first place? Our photo showed at least five or six emergency vehicles and, needless to say, that attracted a lot of attention from those living nearby as well as passers-by.
Phil Law’s comment asked whether Rye News‘ editor had left. No, he was there taking notes – and talking to the fire and ambulance staff present. And he has been acting editor since early last year, officially taking over from me in October, because I had had pneumonia, or its after effects or side effects, for much of 2016, continuing into 2017.
Phil also says our lead story was so full of inaccuracies to be laughable. He did not say what inaccuracies and on Tuesday the Daily Mirror was repeating our headline (and what the Daily Telegraph was saying last week) that the killer had lived in Rye AS A CHILD BEFORE moving to Tunbridge Wells and going to secondary school there.
All the stories about Northiam also related to him living there AS AN ADULT – not as a child.
And I know of at least one person in Rye who recalls going to school in Rye with the killer. So I wonder about Phil’s so-called other inaccuracies?
But last week’s attack on Parliament was what journalists call “a running story”. Information emerges over time, and sometimes is incomplete and sometimes even contradictory – and the devil is in the detail.
I recall covering a train crash in Maidstone in the ’60s and we could not get the figures to add up. The local hospital said it treated fewer people than the ambulance crews said they had collected. The answer of course, as we discovered later, was that some casualties had been diverted to other hospitals. But the journalists present had assumed they had all gone to the nearest hospital.
And I suspect Phil Law thought the killer had only attended schools in Tunbridge Wells – which was the impression given in Friday’s papers and TV because they had a photo of him at secondary school.
However our story last Thursday night was carefully worded, saying in the third paragraph “where he is believed to have been brought up”. Our MP Amber Rudd (paragraph seven) was also careful to say “we don’t know that yet” in answer to another question, and our final update on Friday said “doubtless all will become clear in time”. But it may not.
In the meantime Rye News will continue to report events that get people talking, will check the facts (as far as it is possible) and publish corrections if something is seriously wrong – and we will continue to ask questions if something does not seem quite right.
Photo: Rye News library