Newspaper apologizes, donates $ after wrong suicide report - iMediaEthics

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The Basildon Echo apologized after wrongly claiming a man’s son left a suicide note.

The Echo‘s Oct. 2019 article, “Inquest opens into death of man, 31,” misreported on the inquest, or investigation, into the man’s death by suicide. The man’s father complained over the article, saying the claims about a note were wrong and upsetting.

It turned out the reporter thought the coroner’s office said there was a note but misread his own notes about the inquest, the IPSO report explained.

The Basildon Echo is a Newsquest-owned news outlet located east of London.

The Basildon Echo published an apology, made a £100 donation to charity, and sent the coroner a letter explaining how it would work to avoid future mistakes. That resolved the complaint, IPSO ruled.

iMediaEthics has written to the Basildon Echo to ask how it will avoid future mistakes and for further comment.

The apology reads:

“Following an article which appeared on page 2 of the 1-10-19 edition of the Echo regarding the death of Tom Wallace we wish to make the following statement. The Echo now accepts there was serious inaccuracy in its content and apologise unreservedly to Tom Wallace’s family. We wrongly implied Tom, 31, had left a suicide note. This was not the case. This caused unnecessary pain and anguish to Russell, Deborah, Leah, Flora, other family members and close friends who were grieving over the sad loss of Tom. The Echo have now worked with Russell and Deborah on a tribute to Tom. As part of this we have made £100 donation to Trust Links that Tom worked for as a support worker. We will also be writing to the Essex Coroner’s Office to inform the office how we have implemented and reaffirmed our covering of inquests to ensure accurate, compassionate and sensitive coverage to families who suffer such tragic losses.”

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Newspaper apologizes, donates $ after wrong suicide report

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