From: Shawn Sobers
Sent: Sun 9/16/2007 13:27
Subject: Biased reporting on St Pauls
I’ve just watched the 11.55am West Today news update and was disappointed by the highly subjective way you reported yesterday’s events in St Pauls. The people of St Pauls have long complained about the biased nature of reporting about their area and this was highlighted in your broadcast this morning.
I was at yesterday’s carnival and was proud that the city was host to such a fantastic event, and even prouder of St Pauls for organising it. It was also the carnival’s 40th anniversary. In this morning’s news you didn’t even show so much as a one-second glimpse of the colourful and peaceful carnival, which was attended by people from all parts of Bristol and also from around the country – and you instead chose to lead with a typically negative story, that of the murder inquiry from an incident in a St Pauls pub. The newsreader fleetingly mentioned in a one-second sentence the peaceful carnival saying that the police say the incident was unrelated to the murder.
Of course the murder is an sad story and shouldn’t be ignored, but it is also sad that now in the minds of your viewers, due to the way you reported the incident, again St Pauls = police tape and violence. Had you instead inverted the negative/positive bias of the reporting and led with the story & images of the fantastic carnival and followed it by mentioning the unrelated and deeply sad event that happened hours later, it would have been a much more representative account of what happened in the St Pauls area for your viewers to get a less biased message.
As a previous employee of HTV West I am really sad to have to write this. And even sadder that in all the years I have been watching television news, not much seems to have changed.