General Discussion

A questionable butterfly


Devon leisure
Julias Sachin

Dawlish Gazette

06 Jun 2008 19:17

The front page of this weeks Dawlish Post hails the arrival of Tom Scobie, as the new Town and Villages Reporter of the Dawlish Gazette.

At first, this appointment appears innocuous, but closer inspection raises the concerns that council/mayoral reportage may not be impartial.

Mr Scobie sat alongside councillor Protheroe on the local council, both of them Lib Dem. Mr Protheroe is now mayor of Dawlish Town council. A close friend of Mr Scobie is in the employment of Mr Protheroe.

These points raise concerns of a conflict of interest. How impartial will Mr Scobie's reporting be with the above vested interests?

We have witnessed before the reluctance of local reporters to seriously investigate council matters; even resulting in one journalist to leave their post due to residents complaints.

Are we therefore to deduce that the appointment of Tom Scobie will result in a 'closed shop' when it comes to open, honest, journalism regarding Dawlish Town Council?

Mr Scobie's manifesto includes his "intention to ensure that, with the active engagement of our readers, the Gazette not only reflects the community but serves it with renewed vigour" and "looking forward to hearing from people with every shade of opinion and to covering the news stories which are important to them".

One can only hope he is a man of his word, though the experience of previous reporting/reporters leaves many of us with severe reservations.

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