THE EDITOR'S CHAIR: Sensitivity is key when covering tragic events
TERRIBLE EVENT: The house in Tillsland, Coed Eva, Cwmbran where Kim Buckley, her granddaughter Kimberley and daughter Kayleigh died
NEWSPAPERS like your Argus exist to provide news, sport and information from the local area to you, our readers.
Sometimes that means holding people in power to account.
Sometimes it means reporting on daft stories that make you chuckle.
And sometimes it means reporting on terrible events.
This week saw our reporters doing the latter as three generations of the same family perished in a horrific fire in Cwmbran.
It was an awful, terrible tragedy – particularly because one of the victims was just six months old.
Covering such a story is a fine balancing act. There are facts that need to be reported but we have to do so as sensitively as possible.
We are a part of the communities we serve. Many of our staff were born in Gwent. Most live in the area.
I grew up in the St Dials area of Cwmbran, a stone’s throw from Coed Eva. I know how close-knit the community is there.
Our duty as a local newspaper in such circumstances is to report the facts but also to remember at all times that the people most affected by tragedies like this are probably our readers and potentially relatives or friends of some of our staff.
I think our team did a good job this week in difficult circumstances.
Some of you might well disagree.
There will be some who feel we have revealed too much of the detail surrounding an intensely personal tragedy. Others will feel we have not reported enough.
My job as editor is to ensure that our reporters are polite, respectful and sensitive when talking to the friends and family of Kim, Kayleigh and Kimberley Buckley.
We don’t always get it right. We did our best to make sure we did this week.
Harry, 96, still on top of his game
LAST Saturday I had the pleasure of treating Harry Polloway MBE to some hospitality at the Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues rugby match.
Harry, Newport’s official toastmaster for decades and now a sprightly 96 years old, more than made up for a distinct lack of entertainment on the pitch.
He has tales galore of the great and the good he’s met over the years and a string of anecdotes that show a remarkably sharp mind at work despite his advancing years.
Harry even finds humour in being accidentally killed off by Newport West MP Paul Flynn a few years ago.
Mr Flynn wrote an obituary to Harry on his blog. Fortunately, rumours of Harry’s demise had been greatly exaggerated.
A delightful man, Harry is one of Newport’s living treasures.