PressWise – Latest Activities

Bulletin No 4, 22 December 1999

1. Cases
Recurring issues arise over newspaper report of inquests. Members of the public who find themselves involved in Coroners’ enquiries into the circumstances of the unexpected death of a loved one are often horrified to discover that the proceedings may be fully reported in the media. Sometimes coverage of inquests can verge on the sensational, with little apparent concern for the feelings of the bereaved.

PressWise has mediated in a numerous of cases in recent years, most recently with the Pontefract and Castleford Express which has apologised to family and friends after only reporting the early part of an inquest proceedings, leaving readers with an inaccurate account of the tragic circumstances of an unexpected death and no report of the inquest verdict.

PressWise hopes to produce a briefing on Reporting of Inquests in 2000.

2. PressWise on the international scene
World Health Organization
We took part in the IPI/WHO conference Health Reporting 2000 in Copenhagen in December, where we launched a consultation exercise around communication tactics for health professionals – hints for official spokespeople, press officers, campaigners and health correspondents.

PressWise has just completed a 9-month contract as communications consultants with the WHO European Region Partnership Project on Tobacco Dependence, attending a 2 day-event sponsored by the German Federal Government on Bonn.

Children/Media/Violence Project
Having signed a contract under the EC Daphne Initiative to develop specialist training materials about coverage of traumatised children, we met with the NUJ to arrange a two-day seminar for journalists in London (24-25 Feb) to discuss media coverage of disasters, post-traumatic stress syndrome and related issues. Places are limited but journalists with a professional interest who wish to be considered should contact PressWise by 30 Jan.

Refugees, Asylum-seekers and the Media Project (RAM)
PressWise is conducting a survey of refugee organisations throughout Europe in Jan/Feb 2000 to discuss their communication needs. We shall be liasing with the IFJ to ensure that the work complements the work of their “Reporting Diversity” project among journalists in Central and Eastern Europe.

We are also planning a series of meetings, hopefully in January and February, with refugee organisations in the planned “dispersal areas” in the UK, to discuss their communication needs and their relationships and problems with the local media.

We have been meeting with the IFJ to plan a range of joint activities next year around media coverage of children and the further development of Guidelines for media professionals as part of the follow up to the Oslo Challenge.

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