Ask the editor: your questions about the Hereford Times answered

Thank you for sending your questions. As always, we want you to be involved before during and after everything we do. I’ve tried to answer as clearly as I can but if you need further clarification please email me or send a letter to the newsroom using the contact us  section of our website.

I’ve used the questioners’ initials below. My answers are prefixed with my initials, JW.

TW: To what extent is your paper completely independent/non-partisan?

JW: Britain’s proud tradition of a free press means newspapers are entitled to be as partisan as they wish (though they must not publish proven untruths). In practice, the Hereford Times is strictly politically neutral. That does not preclude us from publishing contributions from others, such as columnists or letter writers who may take a political stance. But their words appear on pages that are clearly labelled as opinion or comment to differentiate them from objective news.

SD: How many of your reporting staff are local?

JW: All our local news reporters were brought up and live in Herefordshire. They are part of the community and are affected by the same issues as our readers. We also use stories of generic interest that our written by journalists in our publisher’s national team and stories supplied by professional news agencies. 

PL: Are news reports and articles proof-read by sub-editors or other staff prior to being published on the website?

JW: Some are but others are not. Our reporters often file their stories from the scene, usually under less-than-ideal conditions. This means readers get their online news very quickly as it unfolds. In such circumstances minor spelling and grammatical errors do sometimes slip through, despite our best efforts. We do not employ proof-readers. Newspapers have not done so for a great many years. The cost of employing them would have to be passed on to readers and advertisers, and that is something we do not want to do.

MT: Why do my daily updates go into my junk folder? This email didn’t!

JW: Thank you for subscribing to one or more of our free email news bulletins. You can subscribe and unsubscribe easily here . Follow the instructions here If you find our bulletins are going into your junk folder.

VB: Why is the Hereford Times seemingly uninterested in covering news about issues relating to women’s safety?

I am a trustee of West Mercia Women’s Aid and we marked our existence of 40 years last year with a series of events both solemn and inspiring.
WMWA was started by a small group of bold women living here in Herefordshire.
The Hereford Times was sent press releases from our staff team, with absolutely no response.
I am pleased to report that there was good coverage of our events in Worcestershire.
I am also a member of the Herefordshire Women’s Equality Group.  Again, we hold events here in Herefordshire covering a wide range of themes, for example, the safety of girls in local schools, specifically sexual violence. 
And, yes, this is happening now. It is even hitting the national press.
Despite the preparation of press releases and invitations to our events, there has been a sad response from you.
I might add that if you want people like me to buy and read your paper then you need to widen your scope and cover stories that affect me and my concerns.

JW: It is not the case that the Hereford Times is uninterested in issues about women’s safety. You may recall how in 2022 we threw our weight behind calls for action after a series of sex attacks in Hereford. Our coverage included this moving speech by a 11-year-old girl .
We also supported the installation of CCTV cameras specifically to help keep women and girls safe and sent a reporter out to chronicle the work of volunteers keeping a watchful eye on young women enjoying Hereford’s nightlife .
A search of our website reveals that in recent times we have written at least 16 stories mentioning West Mercia Women’s Aid and seven mentioning Herefordshire Women’s Equality Group. I’m not suggesting that is sufficient, but we receive dozens of requests for publicity from organisations across Herefordshire every week and can only do so much. Please don’t be discouraged; keep sending your updates and we’ll continue to do what we can to help. You can also post your information on our free local events platform:

DS: I would like to see a section on What’s On in Herefordshire maybe once a month. I always find out too late.

JW: As well as regularly previewing forthcoming events, we publish two pages of What’s On/Local Events listings in the Hereford Times EVERY WEEK. You can find them on Page 2 and 3 of our Weekender section. If you use our free local events platform you will find hundreds of local listings, and can even post details of your own event for FREE.

MW: Do your journalists get out and about to report on stories or are they stuck behind desks?

JW: We send reporters to magistrates’ court almost every week. We also have a specialist reporter who goes to meetings of Herefordshire Council and other public bodies. We attend breaking news incidents such as 999 emergencies and severe weather, where we report live from the scene. Our reporters interview subjects for stories and go out to review local restaurants, pubs and cafes.

PB: What are you doing about the people who hijack the comments section on many articles?

JW: We believe in allowing readers to have their say, providing that they observe the laws of the land and the rules of our website. Comments are not actively moderated for legal reasons that govern these sorts of platform, but anyone who thinks our rules have been breached can use the ‘Report’ button that appears with every post. The remarks will then be assessed and, if necessary, removed. People who persistently breach our rules may be banned from our site.

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