The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Sometimes, a journalist or an editor will be gripped by a particular issue or idea and will make a point of going after a particular line of reporting. So in the last year, the Times has reported again and again on, you might say, a campaigning footing about the scandal of adoption in this country and the failures of our adoption system. And similarly, we have sought, over a period of more than two years, to draw attention to the plight of a woman, Sakineh Ashtiani, who has been imprisoned and threatened with the death sentence and threatened with stoning, and you would say our coverage of that has been disproportionate. It has been in the service of an agenda. Of course it has, and that's what newspapers should do. So I make that small defence.

I think that when people talk about agenda-driven reporting in terms of more broad news coverage and the service to our readers that we provide in telling them what's happening in their communities and countries, the point I'd make is that that really misunderstands the nature of a newsroom and the nature of journalists. We are a pretty independent-minded bunch of people, and we want to pursue the story and pursue it where it leads us. If you try to constrain journalists, what you'll often find is that you don't get the best people working for you and you don't land the best stories, and actually, more broadly, when it comes to issues of opinion, certainly in the case of the Times, if you're not providing a broad range of opinion and you're not surprising, sometimes challenging your readers, too, you're disappointing them. So I don't feel as though that's the nature of the Times.

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