Manchester Evening News welcomes Kerslake report

The Manchester Evening News yesterday welcomed a report into the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bomb which, the publishers say, praised its coverage but also criticised the actions of some media.

Manchester Evening News welcomes Kerslake report

As reported by the Manchester Evening News: The report, set up by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in the wake of the May 22 attack last year, seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses in how the disaster was tackled.

Families reported feeling 'hounded' by some media during the hours and days that followed the attack, says Lord Bob Kerslake’s report.

The review panel describes itself as ‘shocked and dismayed’ by the level of Press intrusion in some cases.

But the report says a number of families spoke in praise of sympathetic reporting by the Manchester Evening News and other local papers.

MEN Editor-in-Chief Rob Irvine said: “Lord Kerslake’s report confirms that there is a positive role that the Press can play in communicating on behalf of families and in fundraising.

“It mentions that the MEN raised a million pounds for the emergency appeal in 24 hours.The final total raised was £2.5 million which was included in the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund of £20m that is helping the bereaved and those most affected.”

The review gave examples of how families felt about the behaviour of some journalists.

“At the hospitals, families attending to look for missing loved ones and visiting the injured described having to force their way through scrums of reporters who ‘wouldn’t take no for an answer’,” it says.

“A member of staff on her ward spoke of a note offering £2,000 for information being included in a tin of biscuits given to the staff.”

One family member said: “The information in the Manchester Evening News was correct but when national Press picked it up, it would change.”

Another described their local Press as “amazing”.

The review makes a number of recommendations in relation to the media, including that the Independent Press Standards Organisation - the Press regulator - introduce new guidelines on reporting the aftermath of terror attacks.

Mr Irvine added: “I am pleased to see that there is a recommendation that statutory responders should engage with local trusted Press and broadcasters as key participants in planning and rehearsing responses to major incidents.

“The MEN played a key role in helping communicating the facts to the public and we also gave a voice to the people of Greater Manchester who rallied together and around those affected by this atrocity.”

The wider focus of the report is on the response of the emergency services and statutory authorities and there is strong criticism of the fire service in particular. Nevertheless, the story of the response on the night was overall 'overwhelmingly positive' it finds.