Summer of Stories: Building up trust is essential if we are to uncover the truth
Finding readers prepared to share their stories — and building up the trust for them to feel they can do remains one of the most important skills any journalist can display. In today’s Summer of Stories Q&A, Bronwen Weatherby from BristolLive, the online home of the Bristol Post, explains why:
What was this story about?
The amount mental health trusts can spend on representation at inquests when members of the public are given no legal aid.
How did you find out about this story?
The daughter of a woman whose inquest I reported on contacted me with the FOI response she had received.
Can you tell us about what work went on prior to publication?
Maintaining the relationship with the daughter.
What was the reaction after publication?
I remember it having quite a lot of attention on Twitter, this is something that hit home for quite a few people. There are already campaigns to change the laws around this.
Why will you remember this story?
Because it made me proud to have maintained the trust of a family member of a person whose inquest we reported on, which is often one of the most contentious things we do as reporters.
Did this story tell you anything about local journalism? If so, what?
A local story can sometimes better shine a light on a national issue.
Is there any advice you could give a would-be journalist based on this story?
With inquests, as with ‘death-knocks’ and anything seemingly unpleasant that we do in our role as reporters the best thing is never to assume how people are going to react to you. People are surprising and often want the opportunity to tell you their side of things or talk about their lost loved one.