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12 December 2019

YEP Exclusive Puts Spotlight Back On Highly Trusted Local Journalism

The highly trusted credentials of local news media have been thrust into the spotlight after a Yorkshire Evening Post exclusive about a four-year-old boy forced to sleep on the floor in a Leeds hospital which dominated the election news agenda.   

The News Media Association has been running the #TrustedElectionNews campaign to highlight the highly trusted credentials of local news media and the critical importance of this during the election campaign.

The campaign, which reached 16.4 million people in a week, urged party leaders to spell out what they would do for the news media sector if elected, but the industry’s five questions have not received a response.

This week, a Yorkshire Evening Post exclusive about a four-year-old boy who was forced to sleep on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary wrapped in his mother’s coat due to a shortage of beds, put highly trusted local journalism into the spotlight again.

After publication, despite the hospital confirming the story to be true, the title and its reporting team came under sustained and vicious attack from trolls and bots on social media channels purporting the story to be “fake news” and the image falsified.

YEP editor Laura Collins said: “Never has there been a time when journalism, the industry and our journalists have come under such scrutiny and criticism and frankly, it is worrying about the power of social media and its reach. The level of abuse would not be accepted on the streets and must not be tolerated.

“Our team of reporters will fact-check and verify information at the highest level before it is published - yet anyone can hide behind the guise of a fake profile and tweet out spurious claims without a single check. We will be accountable - nobody will take accountability from a fake account.”

The News Media Association said: “The Yorkshire Evening Post’s exclusive story about a four-year-old forced to sleep on a hospital floor due to a lack of beds is a perfect example of why trusted local journalism is so important for our society, particularly in the run up to a general election

“That’s why the local news media sector has come together under the banner of the #trustedelectionnews campaign to highlight its highly trusted credentials, in stark contrast to the disinformation and abuse which is so often distributed on social media.

“It is appalling that, having published a legitimate story in the public interest, the Yorkshire Evening Post and their journalists have had to suffer torrents of abuse on social media from trolls who seek to denigrate and debase a highly trusted and respected brand.

“These vicious attacks on journalism undermine our democratic way of life and there is no place for them in our society.”