Manchester Evening News praised by Kerslake Review for its coverage in aftermath of Arena terror attack

  • MEN praised by Lord Kerslake for sensitive and accurate way it reported bomb attack
  • But Kerslake Review says many members of the national press acted in a negative way
  • Families of those caught in attack felt 'hounded and bombarded' by the media

The Manchester Evening News has been singled out for praise for its media coverage in the aftermath of the Arena bomb attack.

The Kerslake Review, which was commissioned by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, to look at how the emergency services responded to the terror attack last May, heavily criticises some members of the media but is staunch in its praise of the MEN handled its reporting of the event.

The report states: “A number of families spoke in praise of sympathetic reporting by the Manchester Evening News and other papers local to the bereaved. Those involved in the Disaster Victim Identification process told the review that the media had respected the dignity of the deceased and the privacy of the families when making visits to see their loved ones.”

One family told the review: “The information in the Manchester Evening News was correct but when national press picked it up it would change.”

However, the majority of people involved in the attack in some way said their dealings with the press were negative, leaving them feeling ‘hounded’ and ‘bombarded’.

The report states: “At the hospitals, families attending to look for missing loved ones and visiting the injured described having to force their way through scrums of reporters who ‘wouldn’t take no for an answer’.

“One mother, who was herself seriously injured as was her daughter, spoke of the press ringing her on her mobile while she was recovering in hospital.

“A member of staff on her ward spoke of a note offering £2,000 for information being included in a tin of biscuits given to the staff.”

The report says many families had to take evasive action to avoid the media: “Specific mention was made of photos being taken through the glass windows of family being given news of bereavement. There were descriptions of people having to run to cars with coats over their heads to escape.”

It adds: “Several people told of the physical presence of crews outside their homes. One mentioned the forceful attempt by a reporter to gain access through their front door by ramming a foot in the doorway. The child of one family was given condolences on the doorstep before official notification of the death of her mother.

“Another family told how their child was stopped by journalists whilst making their way to school.”
MEN editor-in-chief Rob Irvine told holdthefrontpage that news organisations had a ‘positive’ role to play in the aftermath of terror attacks “in communicating on behalf of families and in fundraising”.