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Sir Martyn Lewis helps News Journal mark milestone

Posted onPosted on 3rd May

Former television news reader and journalist Sir Martyn Lewis, a pioneer of good news reporting, congratulated the Mansfield, Ashfield and Warsop News Journal on its fifth birthday during a visit to Mansfield.

Sir Martyn met directors, staff and learners at R.E.A.L. Education, based in Mansfield, and visited the News Journal, to meet some of its page sponsors (pictured), and Mansfield District Council.

The following day he gave a talk at a breakfast meeting of business networking and development group Mansfield and Ashfield 2020.
News Journal managing director Stewart Rickersey, one of the newspaper’s founders, was inspired by Sir Martyn’s vision for good news reporting, and constructive journalism, in the 1990s.

That was one of the reason’s why Stewart launched the News Journal ­— which has highlighted positive stories in Mansfield, Ashfield and Warsop since April 2014 and championed the work of the area’s many selfless volunteers ­— and invited Sir Martyn to share its fifth birthday milestone.

Sir Martyn said: “I hope you are encouraged by the knowledge that you were — and are — early pioneers in adopting the kind of journalism that is now starting to gain a much higher profile.”

While meeting some of the newspaper’s page sponsors, he explained: “There’s too much negative news and it can affect the psyche of the nation.

“Good news matters. News ought to reflect the society in which we live — and society is not all negative. A balance is needed, looking at the trials people from all walks of life face and the successes that can arise.”

He said that good news stories must still fit the journalistic criteria, without simply being PR or marketing pieces.
“Good stories are what make the communities what they are,” said Martyn.

“People deal with problems that might arise and these are good stories.”

Sir Martyn said the News Journal is “very much ahead of the game and there is a real prospect that the kind of journalism you have pioneered will become mainstream during the next decade or so.”

He added that politicians should monitor good news stories, like those in the News Journal, because a solution found in one area of the country could be used to solve a similar problem in another part of the country.

He concluded: “We need to know more of these stories.”

Sir Martyn added that fake news was also a major issue, and said it was important that children learned to spot fake news, whether it was deliberately so or accidental.

Stewart added: “When we launched the News Journal back in April 2014 it was very much with the thoughts of Sir Martyn in mind.

“I first brought Sir Martyn to Mansfield in the 1990s because I agreed with his view that the media, including newspapers, should reflect the positive side of all stories where possible.

“All too often the media was concentrating on the doom and gloom and neglecting the many success stories, small or large, going on in their communities.

“That’s why I was delighted to be able to launch the News Journal with that ethos ­— to celebrate all the good work being done in Mansfield, Ashfield and Warsop.

“We were given a warm welcome by readers and advertisers alike in 2014 when we explained our plans — and, I am pleased to say, they have continued to support us ever since.

“It is ‘good news’ to note that other media have since followed that lead, as Sir Martyn pointed out during his visit to help us mark our important milestone.

“I firmly believe that people want to read about what is going right as well as what is going wrong —and that they still want to do so in a newspaper as well as other media.”

While in Mansfield Sir Martyn Lewis enjoyed an overnight stay at 281 Restaurant & Rooms, Mansfield.