The Star prides itself on being a family media centre. Everything we work on – be it the newspaper, apps. websites or events in the community – our number one priority is to support local people, businesses and communities.
My journalists are professionals. They love what they do and are amongst the best in the country when it comes to regional journalism. We understand we are the ‘Fourth Estate’ in socio-political terms, and we take our responsibility as the city’s organ of record as a Gospel instruction. For that reason, there is an awful lot of material that the Editor (currently, me) confines to the cutting room floor. The reasons for censoring content are myriad, but often it is to protect the people that deserve protection from hurt, humiliation, embarrassment - and so ad infinitum. So when the images of Beverley Pickorer arrived at my desk, my instant reaction was, ‘we cannot publish those images.’
My gut instinct told me that here was a woman, a mum of four children, who - barring divine intervention - was enduring the final throes of a slow and painful death. Her last breaths should be private, without question. But occasionally a story comes along that is didactic, and its subtext is so powerful that publication becomes a moral obligation. Her partner Anthony Howard says he became immune to the now 35-year-old’s alcohol consumption. Her addiction naturalised in the family home over time. At just 31 years old himself, he now recognises the writing was on the wall before he could catch her fall. That should serve as a lesson to all of us. Is there someone in your family who cannot get through an evening without a drink? Do they become aloof and/or destructive after their ‘fix’? Can you do more to help them? If the front page image of today’s newspaper helps one family to have a life-changing conversation about alcohol, then Beverley will have helped someone else. by James Mitchinson Editor