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To refuse to provide personal details to a reporter

(26 Posts)
MiceElf Fri 05-Sep-14 09:10:31

Withing the last month there have been two nasty RTAs, one fatal, on a stretch of road two hundred yards from my house.

Over the last ten years nine other people have been killed on the same stretch of road.

Over the years we have petitioned, lobbied the Council and campaigned for traffic calming measures to no avail.

This time, I am determined to get action. Together with other local residents I have organised yet another petition and have enlisted the help of the PPC.

I was telephoned by a reporter from the local rag and gave him a lengthy interview complete with background and detail which he was either unaware, or hasn't bothered to discover.

He then said that he would just take a few details. He wanted to know my age, number of children and occupation. I declined to provide these as the issue is road safety and I don't want my details plastered all over the local paper.

He then said he HAD to have my age etc. I said he didn't. He said it was the paper's policy. I said they should change it. He said he couldn't use any of the info I had given in that case. I said that was his choice. He said if my children were killed or injured it made my intervention more understandable. I said that every child's life was of equal value and that this view was a nonsense. He then put on a little boy pleading voice and I ended the interview by asking him what part of 'No, I'm not going to supply my private details to a reporter' he didn't understand.

Icyalittle Fri 05-Sep-14 09:22:57

Good on you!! What was his line going to be? '^64 year old grandmother of 2.....^' (I made those up of course) What the heck does that add! You could have told him it was age-discriminatory to ask....

sunseeker Fri 05-Sep-14 09:32:54

You were quite right!

When a company I worked for was in the news I was took a call from the local newspaper who wanted to know the full name and age of my boss, when I declined he said he could always look it up - so I told him to do just that.

I don't understand what someone's age or number of children has to do with a story. Also, why to do some newspapers always put the value of someone's house into a story.

shoreham55 Fri 05-Sep-14 09:35:38

You are right not to give personal details. In principle, never give more info than is absolutely required for a transaction eg if asked for age if buying alcohol for instance all the shop needs is evidence of being over 18, not actual birthdate, address, name etc. If the info isn't relevant, don't give it. He must be a poor reporter if he can't write an informed piece without the headline icyslittle points out.

ginny Fri 05-Sep-14 09:42:46

Good for you. I'd do the same.

It's similar to when reporters ask people who have just gone through some sort of trauma or loss..."How do you feel" How the ** do they think they feel?

annodomini Fri 05-Sep-14 09:50:31

The reason excuse I've heard for this intrusion is that if they give your age and other details,, it avoids possible confusion with other people of the same name. If you wrote a letter to the newspaper highlighting the issue, you wouldn't give your age and number of children, so I see no good reason for splashing them over the front page.

Mishap Fri 05-Sep-14 10:29:58

That's the media for you I'm afraid. I used to work on a national magazine - I once took in a story about a child being run over on a Traveller site, passed it on to the editor and his eyes lit up, until I told him the child had survived when he looked really disappointed. He got short shrift from me. Sickening stuff.

You did the right thing Mice

absentgrandma Fri 05-Sep-14 13:22:12

Agree with all the above. Good for you Mice. The media have an obsession with status and numbers ie: 'Granny of three reverses car into Tesco's entrance'. They're also obsessed with house prices.... 'There was no sign of anyone at the X's £650,000 house, set in a leafy suburb'..... WTF has that got to do with anything? And how do they arrive at a valuation anyway?

And as for the moronic question... 'How do you feel?'angry The worst one for that is Lee Mackenzie the pointless interviewer on the BBC's F1 coverage: 'So Lewis/ Fernando/ Jenson.... how do you feel after crashing out on the last lap when you were in the lead?' God help us, how the heck do you think they felt, you brainless woman ?

janerowena Fri 05-Sep-14 14:07:33

I did an interview for a local tv station about library closures, but when I refused to give my name etc. they said they wouldn't be able to use the film. Which was great, as I had felt bullied into doing it anyway!

absentgrandma Fri 05-Sep-14 14:58:37

That's it then..... the DM provides the day's best example of ageist/intrusive journalism.... 'Tuxedo-wearing Great Grandad Tackles THREE Armed Thugs'

GGD is actually 59! Which is the most relevant fact in the headline........GGD tackling thugs (armed) or wearing a tux?shock

janerowena Fri 05-Sep-14 15:39:24

grin teeheehee Only 59? He should go and dust up the reporters!

Nelliemoser Fri 05-Sep-14 16:18:57

MicElf what a B**r Good for you!

Nelliemoser Fri 05-Sep-14 16:24:43

That asterisked word should have had more asterisks in the middle I put four in, but I expect you can get my drift.

Eloethan Fri 05-Sep-14 18:00:36

I totally agree MiceElf. Your age and occupation, etc., are not pertinent to the report.

I would be inclined to write to the editor of the newspaper, asking if it is in fact their policy to include this information and, if so, why.

FlicketyB Fri 05-Sep-14 18:58:02

There was a headline in my local paper: 'Elderly man killed in road accident'. It occurred to me at the time that if the victim had been any age between 20 - 59 the headline would have been 'Man killed in road accident'

grumppa Fri 05-Sep-14 19:44:28

No it wouldn't. The headline would have referred to father of two, or graduate, or whatever else the paper could dig up to personalise the individual. All very irritating.

rosequartz Fri 05-Sep-14 19:57:01

Our local paper won't publish any letter without full name and address which they then publish. Previously we (not me personally) could write to the paper and they would publish 'name and address supplied' or whatever. Not now, with a new editor. Consequently there are rarely any letters on the letters page.

rubylady Sat 06-Sep-14 06:36:21

I give false info whenever asked. At checkouts they sometimes ask for postcodes, they get a false one. Signing a returns receipt I give a false name if I've paid cash. It is no one's business where I live or what my name is if I am returning a blouse. And as for cold callers, I tell them in no uncertain terms to take me off their list. Cheek.

absent Sat 06-Sep-14 06:58:39

Of course, the trouble with reporters - mainly from tabloids and local papers - is that if they don't have the facts, they'll make something up instead. It will, of course, be sufficiently vague to avoid to avoid legal recourse.

Brendawymms Sat 06-Sep-14 07:49:33

Whilst working in A&E in the 90's I was interviewed for an article by the Independent newspaper. I was described as a " middle aged woman with a crinkly perm". Those tight spiral perms were all the rage at the time and I was in my 40's.

goldengirl Sat 06-Sep-14 08:47:42

Good for you MiceElf. Reporters can be terribly intrusive and what your age and occupation are and your name have nothing to do with what you saw. Even the police have asked my age when I've reported a crime and I've told them off and asked what it had to do with the crime. I have to say they've always backed down on that one. I do have a friendly reporter who includes me in articles about welfare facilities for lorry drivers and I want him to use my name on those occasions - but not my age smile

absent Sat 06-Sep-14 09:13:39

Brendawymms How long are you expecting live if 40s isn't middle age?

Brendawymms Sat 06-Sep-14 09:52:45

A long time absent . Do others think mid 40's is middle age?
I am now mid 60's and I don't consider myself elderly so must be middle age now. grin

nightowl Sat 06-Sep-14 10:33:52

I do think mid 40s is middle aged, though I think celeb culture and the cosmetic surgery industry would have us think otherwise. As absent suggests, if we live to 90 that's a pretty good age so mid 40s must be about midway.

I'm in my early 60s and don't think I'm middle aged any longer. I suppose objectively speaking I'm quite old. As long as I'm fortunate enough to stay well and active I try not to concentrate on the number smile

thatbags Sat 06-Sep-14 11:45:00

Those sorts of questions are an invasion of privacy. You did right to tell the twit what's what, mice. Annoying to have to do it though.

What one feels about one's age (old, young, not quite old, whatever) in such a situation is also irrelevant.