Dear reader, please don’t shoot the messenger

Laura Collins, Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post

It’s not an easy task writing about a once in a generation crisis day-in-day-out for the last six months. We feel it — but don’t take it out on us, LAURA COLLINS, editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, has urged readers:

“Stop continually scaremongering for easy and lazy journalism.”

“Maybe do your research before pushing out your FEAR stories.”

“This is all scaremongering.”

“A load of bull media hype”.

These are just a snapshot of some of the messages that have been fired across the social media arena at the Yorkshire Evening Post and its team this weekend.

They were aimed at this title after we had the unenviable task of reporting that Leeds, like many other parts of the country, will be placed into a local lockdown owing to the rise in the number of cases of coronavirus right here in our city.

Nobody wants to see more stringent measures enforced on us. We don’t want to have to have our liberty taken from us. It’s tough not being able to see our loved ones, our friends or our extended social network again.

And I’d agree that it seems ludicrous that I can’t go to see my parents but I am allowed to sit in a pub with dozens of strangers who I have no idea about where they have been and what they have been up to.

ut rules are in place for a reason and whether or not we agree with them we have a duty to protect not only ourselves but each other too.

Yet after reporting on the local lockdown as a responsible publisher to help people navigate their way through this challenging time there are still those who like to shoot the messenger on social media.

The worrying thing is I’ve been here before so I will simply reiterate this point again.The YEP has a duty to report accurately what is happening in our city.

My title, along with the network of local newspapers up and down the country, take absolutely no pleasure in reporting the scale of the unfolding crisis.

Yet we do this because it is our responsibility as journalists to hold officials to account, both locally and nationally, over their handling of this once in a generation crisis.

Over the last six months we’re still here reporting daily on what this fiasco means for our city. And as the weeks and months pass it is clear that this isn’t going to go away any time soon — especially after new tighter restrictions have been imposed on Leeds.

My reporting team are still faced with the loathsome task of combing through the daily releases from the Government and NHS officials to report accurately on the number of deaths right here in Leeds.

It does make for uncomfortable reading — but we can’t stick our heads in the sand on this.

The sense of collective tension and anger is continuing to simmer on social media — especially in a world when misinformation is so readily available.

We all desperately want to try and make sense of what is happening when the world around us feels so out of control. But at the end of the day my team are only human too and assaults on their profession and this title are not helping anybody.

Over the last six months we have seen some incredible acts of kindness as our city has joined together in a way like never before.

We’ve been there every step of the way — so please don’t shoot the messenger.

We’re feeling this strain too.



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