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.



  1. Great I’m delighted for you. Hope you can now move on and leave this horrid incident behind you. I also hope that rag of a papper have learnt their lesson.

    Well Done Mel

    Comment by Jonathan — April 7, 2010 @ 9:22 pm |Reply

  2. Melanie, you have taken a very dignified stance from the beginning of this and also in this update post. What The Mail on Sunday did was very wrong and they still showed their poor judgement in the apology by reneging against the agreement that you’d agree on the wording. Again they went ahead and printed without your agreement..unbelievable.

    Hopefully the response you have had via online media goes to prove that even individuals can now stand up to bad reporting in the press.

    Comment by Sian Phillips — April 7, 2010 @ 9:23 pm |Reply

  3. I’m delighted this is behind you now .. I don’t like the way they couldn’t manage to get it right, even at the very end but I think you are right to accept it as it cannot keep hanging over your head like this. I still think it’s terribly shoddy of them (even to the end) but I’ve come to the conclusion that the media leaves a LOT to be desired in so many things. Big hugs hon and glad that it’s all over.

    Comment by Celine Blacow — April 7, 2010 @ 9:29 pm |Reply

  4. Wow Mel, absolutely delighted that you have got at the very least this outcome. I know many would have buried their head in the proverbial sand and hoped that this would go away so I admire your diligence and particularly the manner in which you conducted yourself through the immediate days of this happening. Well done for getting this result on behalf of yourself and your colleagues/family but indeed on behalf of a mere online networker and blogger such as myself who retracted from social networking as a result of what was so negligently published about you.

    Let this be a lesson to those on high perches, particularly in a time when Irelands eyes and ears are open wider than ever.

    Felicity and Paul x

    Comment by Felicity Brady — April 7, 2010 @ 10:29 pm |Reply

  5. This is great to hear Melanie, well done on the handling of it all. A testament to the nonsense of the whole article to begin with is the fact that you are still happily employed in your position keeping the skies safe for us all. Hopefully now you’ve helped make the media a bit safer too.

    Comment by derryo — April 7, 2010 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

  6. You’re awesome Mel, you’ve handled this wonderfully, I do so sincerely hope that lessons have been learnt by journalists from this, so that at least the anguish caused to you will have some positive outcome!

    Comment by Claire Boyles — April 7, 2010 @ 11:02 pm |Reply

  7. Well done for getting through this. Newspapers can be such despicable, immoral, self-important beasts – Mail group especially – it’s heartening to see a “little guy” winning through. Mind you, that apology…typical weasel words but I suspect the best anyone could ever get (my experience tells me it will have hurt them). If only their readers would see through them and stop buying such a duplicitous rag.

    Comment by Alistair Steger-Lewis — April 8, 2010 @ 10:39 am |Reply

  8. A heartening follow-up, notwithstanding the Fail on Sunday’s mealy-mouthed apology, though it’s more than most get. Best bit is you haven’t lost friends over this, which is far more important than yesterday’s chip paper.

    Comment by Mike Hoffman — April 8, 2010 @ 12:09 pm |Reply

  9. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you got that from the Mail, despite the ‘standing over their story’ ridiculous line. They have made a mockery of themselves and caused you untold heartache and embarrassment, and I’m glad they were forced to put it right. Maybe now they may think twice before doing it again to someone else 🙂

    Comment by Lorna Byrne — April 8, 2010 @ 12:13 pm |Reply

  10. Mel, I found the original details via your cousins twitter feed and was disgusted at the way that rag twisted your blog to create a sensationalist non story to suit their needs. I am glad to see that there has been some recognition that they were wrong although I would have expected a full retraction.

    I hope you can get on with things now and feel happy that anyone who looked at this objectively will see that your words were twisted with a zeal that comical Ali would be proud of by that rag.


    Comment by Paul Kane — April 8, 2010 @ 12:18 pm |Reply

  11. Hi Mel,

    I’ve only just stumbled across your blog, and this issue today. Newspapers seem to be on a never-ending battle to create more and more interesting articles, with ‘create’ being the key word. Blogging is becoming more and more popular every day, and with so many potential stories in the public arena, I fear that this could be one of many incidents to come involving blogs being taken out of context and published within newspapers.

    I admire you for standing up for yourself, going to the trouble and effort to take the path that you did and I’m glad that you have got this result, which I imagine is as good as could really have been expected from a newspaper.

    Comment by Warren — April 8, 2010 @ 12:36 pm |Reply

  12. […] Schregardus has written more about the process on her blog. […]

    Pingback by Air traffic controller blogger drops press complaint following Irish Mail on Sunday apology | Editors' Blog — April 8, 2010 @ 1:08 pm |Reply

  13. Although it’s a mealy-mouthed apology at least it is one. I’m glad you got them to go this far. As you say, the original article was based on the fantasies of their journalists; I have the feeling that this is often the case with the Mail.

    Congratulations and I’m glad that you still have the support of your colleagues.

    Comment by fairyhedgehog — April 8, 2010 @ 1:30 pm |Reply

  14. If we ever have to go to war. I want you in the trenches with me!!
    Well done. Look forward now. You can’t change what’s done but you can get on with the wonderful life you have still with your lovely hubby, Friends and loving family.

    Comment by Harriet Walet — April 8, 2010 @ 1:36 pm |Reply

  15. Very happy to read the conclusion of this ghastly experience. The fact that they printed the apology in the manner they did is indicative of their style. I applaud you for deciding to let it stand as it is. It actually says more about them then they realise. I am also very happy to know that you got so much support; that there is a collective voice in Ireland that can help someone like you to accomplish this. Thanks for letting us know the outcome. Maya

    Comment by Maya — April 8, 2010 @ 2:29 pm |Reply

  16. Mel, you stand vindicated, dignified, and full of win.



    Comment by Richard — April 8, 2010 @ 2:38 pm |Reply

  17. Fabulous news. Great to see someone standing up for themselves against these vile people. Dreadful profession (and I work for a bank!!)

    Comment by Dave Payne — April 8, 2010 @ 4:39 pm |Reply

  18. Well done. Glad you managed to get some resolution , however unsatisfactory, to your situation.

    Comment by blackwatertown — April 8, 2010 @ 11:39 pm |Reply

  19. great decision. win win solution

    Comment by Ikhsan Madjido — April 9, 2010 @ 7:17 pm |Reply

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