There will be many in Fleet Street today who wish they had stuck to Fen values

QUITE how far the revelations have to go in the phone tapping scandal remains to be seen, but many believe – and probably correctly- a sea shift is about to happen in the world of the media.

Getting at the truth remains at the core of the principles upon which journalism was founded.

Given the difficulties faced in establishing facts the use of gentle subterfuge has occasionally been necessary and even admired.

But this week it seemed we entered completely new and alien territory, and not far from home either. The disclosure that police have visited the families of Holly and Jessie at Soham to reveal that phones might have been hacked at the time of their disappearance is about as repulsive as it gets.

Provincial journalism has thrived – if not, of late, always prospered- on its diet of getting up close and personal with its readers, appreciating their tastes, traditions and values and rarely stepping out of line in delivering their news to them in daily or weekly form.


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Our readers would take for granted we keep within the law, indeed journalists from this paper frequently have to remind town hall bureaucrats that our status gives us no greater rights than that of individuals and that access to information, to meetings and to facts and figures is an entitlement of the whole community that we represent.

Sometimes we, too, need to use our imagination to get at the facts and it’s not been unknown – but it is unusual- for a tape recorder to be secreted about a local journalist to record certain vital bits of information.

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But that’s about it.

And there will be many in Fleet Street today- some even trained on this newspaper- who would wish they stuck to the values that were instilled in them in the Fens.

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