Herts Ad Comment: Parties need to do something to deserve media coverage in the General Election...

General Election 2017: Herts Advertiser

General Election 2017: Herts Advertiser - Credit: Archant

Don’t shoot the messenger!

Although political parties of all persuasion are frequently lambasted in this editorial column, the news stories within the rest of the Herts Advertiser aspire to remain politically neutral, despite what some of our recent letter correspondents believe.

So why is it that the Liberal Democrats’ campaign efforts in this General Election have received more coverage than any of the other parties?

At the end of the day, we are here to report on what is happening within the local community, and the high-profile visits of prominent Lib Dem politicians to St Albans is unquestionably news.

We definitely do not skew our coverage to achieve any political agenda, and certainly avoid favouring any one candidate or party over another.

Since the election was announced, we have covered all of the stories submitted by the different parties - including the Green Party - both in print and online, but have also included comments from Anne Main in her then-capacity as St Albans MP in relation to such issues as the closure of Gardens of the Rose and the Radlett rail freight depot scheme.

The truth of the matter is that the Conservatives and Labour have been very quiet locally throughout this campaign, and apart from those stories which we have covered, have not been as active as the Liberal Democrats.

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Does that mean we should ignore news stories involving that particular party, just because rivals have not been as visible, in a bid to achieve fairness? Of course not. You might as well suggest that we don’t cover as many stories taking place in St Albans just in case it offends residents of Frogmore.

And what about those occasions when we have approached candidates for comment on a particular issue, but have not been given a response?

Should we then ignore those who have come back to us with a reply, just in case it is perceived as bias?

No, we are a paper of record, and we will adhere to that remit by publicising news stories from all political parties - providing they actually do something to warrant it - and recognising those candidates who are prepared to interact with the media throughout their campaigns.