April 7, 2010

An Apology (of sorts) from the Mail on Sunday

Filed under: Uncategorized — by melaniedawn @ 9:09 pm

Over two months after the Irish Mail on Sunday published their article about me (January 24th), I am asked on a daily basis what the outcome is and what’s being done about it. I can finally share with you all what’s been happening. I wrote at the time about the distress and upset their article – which they did not contact me about – caused to my family, my workmates and I. The support so many of you showed to me was overwhelming, and I have no doubt that it was a big factor in my complaint being taken seriously. I also received incredible support from my colleagues, who have always been the most friendly and supportive bunch of people anybody could hope to work with. I owe them a big thank you as well. 

The Mail’s original response to my complaint resulted in a reply from Paul Drury (Managing Editor) stating .. ‘ I do not accept that there is anything for us to retract or that we have done anything we should apologise for’. At this stage we lodged a complaint with the Press Council.


 After the PC received our complaint, they obviously contacted the Mail on Sunday, and within a very short period, they responded to us with this:

“Mr Drury is anxious to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, and in this regard has offered to publish an agreed apology and clarification about the article published on 24 January.  The clarification would acknowledge the fact that the newspaper did not give you an opportunity to respond to the contents of the article or to adequately explain the contents of the blog.  Mr Drury is also offering to allow you, in the clarification, to put forward any views you may have about your workplace and your colleagues, so as to address any erroneous impression that the original article may have given.


Mr Drury has asked me to say he regrets that, while it is the newspaper’s policy to afford individuals an opportunity to comment on a proposed article before it goes to print, this did not happen in relation to the article under complaint. He has advised that internal disciplinary action is being taken.”
Obviously, the fact that some action was being taken against the journalist concerned was, and is, very heartening, as was the opportunity to put forward my own views.

It soon became clear that the Mail just wanted to put this issue behind them. A week was spent sending wording over and back, and on Feb 19th no agreement was reached. At this stage, the PC stopped the process and referred the matter to the Ombudsman for a binding decision.However, on Feb 21st, The Mail went ahead and printed a version of the clarification that I had not seen, which I thought was (as an act) a breach of trust. Nonetheless, the clarification, whilst not exactly what I would have wanted, is pretty damning:













After some further discussion and reflection, my family and I decided to accept this clarification as the end of the matter. After all, the Mail had been forced to apologise and clarify, warned about its conduct, and the journalist in question had been disciplined. I am not, and never have been, a vindictive person. This was never about getting anything but the truth from the Mail, and I’m pretty comfortable that that has been achieved. I don’t want to spend my life fighting battles with newspapers, and now, at least, my friends, colleagues, and those of you who I do not know but who showed me incredible kindness know the truth. The Mail’s petty insistence that it “stands by its story” even whilst apologising for it’s own conduct and making clear that their story was based only on the fantasies of one of their journalists says more about them, I think, than any of us. Though that line annoys me, the rest of the apology I think renders it laughable, and does much more damage to that paper’s credibility than it does to me or my family. 

I can’t say thank you enough. I know I already have, but I’d like to again. As many people read my original blogpost as actually buy the Mail on Sunday every weekend, and that’s thanks to all of you who helped get my side of the story out there. I’m not one for big reflections on the world, but it seems to me that we are reaching a point where -thanks to the power of the internet – the media have to think twice before pursuing an ordinary person, and that’s a good thing.
As for me, I’m still at work, surrounded by supportive and superb colleagues, and as happy as I’ve ever been. I can’t overstate how it feels to open a newspaper and see your life turned upside down in front of 60,000 people for the sake of a cheap story, but that’s one nightmare I hope that neither I, nor any of you, have to live through again.

Thank you all.


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