Browse > Home /

Local news blogger refused entry to coroner’s court

VentnorBlog, the well-established Isle of Wight news blog, found itself thrown out of a coroner’s court on Tuesday.

Coroner officer Richard Leedham told Simon Perry of the VentnorBlog, who is a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and who has been writing VB for over four years, that the coroner did not wish him to be in the court – as a journalist or as a member of the public.

The Isle of Wight County Press was allowed to stay, however. Richard Leedham told Journalism.co.uk that the coroner’s court would not be making a comment, but that a statement had been made by the coroner after VentnorBlog had left the room.

The case concerns the death of a woman on the Island in September 2008; the coroner court case has been postponed twice. VB wrote that it had been “led to believe that circumstances surrounding her death may be of public interest”.

Leedham directed us to the local newspaper, the Isle of Wight County Press for details of proceedings, but its story has not yet been written.

The VentnorBlog was informed the decision was to do with previous correspondence from the Coroner over another case. VB said it had made a slight amendment to a story in 2008, after being alerted to do so by a police press officer, but that the subsequent Coroner’s letter had been a private warning, with no further action taken, VB said.

After publishing a video made outside the court, and details of the eviction from the court, many of VB’s followers left comments encouraging VB to take further action. “Ventnor blog seems our one source of reliable info on the Island,” wrote one.

Bringing it back to the case itself, a commenter who says she is the daughter of the woman concerned, said she was glad the VB was ejected, and that she wished no media were able to attend the case.

In a reply to the commenter, VB’s Simon Perry said that “access to a coroner’s inquest is a basic and important right for the public and press. Without it there are no checks on people’s deaths. As no notes are published from the inquest, the only way that it can be understood and reported is by people / press attending”.

The VentnorBlog is now considering its next step: “We’ve yet to properly consider this. Being a tiny set-up, it’s hard to balance being forced to deal with something unwanted like this and still keep the news going on the site.

“The NUJ would seem like an obvious start and we’ll also be having a good look at the suggestions that our readers left in the comments on the story.”

“Nine plus years of NUJ membership would surely point to me not being fly by night like the ignorant accuse bloggers of being,” Perry added.

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

VentnorBlog shows us high-quality hyperlocal reporting with the Vestas story

Remembering a little comparative exercise that Tony Hirst undertook on the OUseful.info blog during the MPs’ expenses revelations, Journalism.co.uk thought it might be illuminating to re-visit Isle of Wight news production on the day of the Vestas case. How did hyperlocal site, the VentnorBlog – not just about the town of Ventnor – treat the Vestas story in comparison to the Isle of Wight County Press Online (in print, it’s weekly) and the national press?

Today’s court adjournment that saw the Danish owners of wind turbine company, Vestas, unable to force workers out of Isle of Wight factory. For the past nine days, about 20 workers have occupied the Vestas Wind Systems plant near Newport, which is due to close on Friday (around 625 workers are set to lose their jobs) but a possession order made at Newport county court today has been delayed until next week, as the company had not properly served papers on the individuals in the building, and the hearing took place prematurely [sources: the Guardian / VentnorBlog].

1. The Guardian

News report and video at this link. Blog post on ‘Vestival’. Other news content from earlier in the day and the week gathered at this link.

2. The Isle of Wight County Press.

A story reporting that ‘Judge denies Vestas eviction order’. The other news link takes us to other related stories, the last of which was printed Tuesday.

3. The VentnorBlog:

Rolling news, updated throughout the day. Eleven updates, lending themselves well to re-tweets (like Journalism.co.uk, the blog uses the TweetMeme button on its posts), posted since this morning including:

  • Video news content. Eg. this segment, with the announcement outside court:

Vestas sit-in: Case Postponement Announced To The Crowd from Ventnor Blog on Vimeo.

Previous coverage of the Vestas story on the VentnorBlog can be found at this link. NB: the VentnorBlog published its Vestival story yesterday lunchtime.

A comment left by ‘Eco T’ on the VentnorBlog is just one of the positive reactions to VB’s coverage:

“I would like to say that Ventnor Blogs coverage has been second to none. The most detailed and accurate report of any news service. I would like to thank ever one at Ventnor blog and hope you keep up the great work.”

The coverage is bitty (as you might expect as a story unfolds) and not necessarily completely balanced (most updates focus on the workers’ perspective), but the VentnorBlog has done an excellent job of providing the islanders (and outsiders) with raw and useful material, showing us how high-quality hyperlocal reporting is done.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement