DIARY: Camden New Journal deputy editor slams Camden council PR tactics

London boroughs are moving deeper into the latter half of their

love-hate relationship with local newspapers.

Negative reporting of multi-million pound corruption as well as a

flagrant disregard for stories concerning administrative awards have for

too long blighted our capital's press.

Now two boroughs have decided enough is enough.

In Camden, the local council has created a website page called 'What the

Papers Didn't Say', designed to correct inaccuracies and rebut what head

of press and PR Steve Gladwin refers to as 'misleading reporting'.

The Camden New Journal has borne the brunt of the council's fury. Its

story titled 'Head speaks out against unfair school admission' failed to

correctly define 'difficult pupil', states the website.

Andrew Johnson, CNJ deputy editor, says the council's PROs even go to

the lengths of contacting people who write letters to the paper daring

to criticise the council.

He said: 'The council is trying to bypass the local media altogether and

keep down debate. They would be better served writing letters to the

paper that would be read by a larger audience, rather than using the

council website.'

And in Merton borough, the local council has had enough of its good news

being consigned to the news in brief section of local paper The South

London Guardian.

In an unusual move, the council has now paid pounds 100,000 for two

pages of advertorial each week in the Newsquest-owned title.

PR manager Sophie Rauber is delighted that the story of the council's

recent award from the Libraries Association has at last been bought the

coverage it deserves.

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