Comment: Sunday’s airshow memorial is time to step back

Mr Cameron with MP Tim Loughton on The Old Toll Bridge, Shoreham
Mr Cameron with MP Tim Loughton on The Old Toll Bridge, Shoreham

IN this cut-throat digital age, the pressure to get the story first is of increasing importance.

But sometimes, it is entirely appropriate to step back.

Sunday’s service to remember the 11 victims of the devastating Shoreham Airshow disaster is one such time.

Organisers of the service, to be held for victims’ families and emergency services who responded so excellently, have been criticised by some outlets for ‘banning’ journalists from attending the solemn service.

Instead, copy and recordings of the event will be sent out by the Press Association and BBC Sussex.

Organisers say this decision was taken due to limited space and with agreement with the grieving families.

This newspaper respects that decision.

While it is every journalist’s instinct to crave access to every major event – a feeling heightened by the scale of the airshow tragedy – common sense must prevail.

The service need not be turned into a media circus, with every national and local reporter clamouring to get into the event.

With every news organisation being given fair and equal access to the material, it is the most sensible solution.

Sensitive coverage was the first consideration of our reporters during this difficult time.

We recognise the effect this tragedy had, and is still having, on our close-knit communties.

As I said on BBC Radio Five Live days after the disaster, in response to questions about how us, as reporters, were coping: ‘It is not about us, it is about the victims and their families’.

This memorial service is exactly that. For the victims, for the families, for the emergency services.

We are glad to see at least some media organisations covering the event. It will ensure the event is properly recorded. It will be done sensitively and with respect.

I, for one, will not be worrying about not being allowed access to the service at 1pm on Sunday. I will stop and reflect on what has happened and pray for the victims and their relatives.