Martyn Lewis, the new chair of NCVO, has criticised the UK national media for its lack of coverage of the voluntary sector.
The former ITN and BBC broadcaster was speaking at an NCVO reception where he complained that very few of the national press outlets had paid attention to the Big Society:
“I was struck when Downing Street announced the Big Society awards and there was hardly any media coverage and no television coverage. When the second Big Society award was given out only one national newspaper reported it," he said.
“There is nothing surprising there perhaps, as for the last eight years the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the Beacon Award have awarded thousands. Local coverage is usually good, but national coverage is virtually non-existent – how are we going to build the Big Society if the trailblazers in voluntary and social enterprises continue to be largely ignored by the national media?” he added.
Lewis suggested that for every negative story written in the press, there should always be a few lines on what is being done to tackle the problem:
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for every story,” said Lewis, “but journalists should be challenged to make the search for such antidotes as part of their professional behaviour. For example a story on a drugs bust should also cover what is being done to tackle the problems of drugs.
“It’s a win-win situation. Editors still get their negative story which they judge essential to maximise audiences and the viewer is not left with the feeling that their country is going down the plughole.”