Straw's praise for regional press
EVENING Star journalist James Fraser was among the regional press journalists being praised by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.Mr Straw said the regional press: "is a pillar of British democracy" and he paid tribute to the bravery of its reporters in the front line of the war in Iraq.
EVENING Star journalist James Fraser was among the regional press journalists being praised by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Straw said the regional press: "is a pillar of British democracy" and he paid tribute to the bravery of its reporters in the front line of the war in Iraq.
James, the Star's deputy news editor, is with the 16th Air Assault Brigade, part of the third regiment of the Army Air Corp based at Wattisham.
He is one of only six regional reporters sending daily dispatches back home – and with Mark Nicholls from the Norwich-based Eastern Daily Press makes two journalists employed by the Archant group.
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Mr Straw was speaking at the Newspaper Conference Annual Lunch held in London where he addressed an audience of regional press editors, chief executives and political editors.
He said: "The regional press is performing with distinction. It has combined solid, factual coverage of the conflict with a focus on local human stories of British servicemen, women and their families.
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"The regional press is a pillar of British democracy. The service which it provides to its communities is invaluable and I pay tribute to its excellent work.
"It has a crucial role to play in peacetime but at times of conflict – as we all know from recent experience – their importance is magnified."
Being a war correspondent on the frontline was a brave act said Mr Straw, who added: "The nature and scope of the newspaper coverage as opposed to television or radio coverage is interesting.
"Those who question the relevance of newspapers in the age of satellite television have their answer in the first-class frontline dispatches and the in-depth analysis by commentators with which newspapers are informing their readers."
Other regional newspapers with reporters on the front line are: the Express and Star, Wolverhampton; Manchester Evening News; Portsmouth News and the Western Daily Press.
Eight reporters and photographers from the six publications are "embedded" with coalition forces.
The lunch was organised by the Newspaper Society which represents around 1,300 daily and weekly publications in the UK.