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Opinion: With 800 stories a week, I'm not sure we'll agree on each single one

PUBLISHED: 15:14 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:14 11 June 2019

The Eat Norfolk food awards is just one way we try to support the important sector

The Eat Norfolk food awards is just one way we try to support the important sector

Copyright Simon Finlay 2018

Every now and then there will be a story which subsequently fills up my inbox with reader's reactions to it.

Sometimes that's because the particular issue has stirred people to respond, on other occasions it can be because readers don't like what we have published.

As I often find myself saying, my hard-working team produces more than 800 stories a week, every now and then we might get something wrong. When we do I'll always be the first to admit it, apologise and well do what we can to put it right. Fortunately those instances are rare.

Equally, our content across print and online is accessed by more than 200,000 people every single day, so it would be unrealistic to expect that everyone will agree with what we produce, even if it is factually accurate.

If we all shared the same opinion the world would be a very boring place - though granted if that was the case the whole Brexit issue may have been resolved by now!

It won't surprise you to know that of the issues people like to debate, Brexit is by far and away the most popular and it's been a mainstay of our letters pages for the past two years. Other hot topics include anything to do with parking, the Broads and its status as a national park (or otherwise depending on what you believe) and the NDR (sorry, Broadland Northway).

Meanwhile, in terms of complaints, those I do receive vary greatly, but common ones relate to spelling mistakes slipping through the net and whether we give over too many pages of the newspaper to Norwich City Football Club.

On the former I'll readily admit it's a work in progress and something my team and I are aware we need to continually keep on top of. We are only humans after all, but we do aim to keep improving.

Meanwhile, on the latter claim I will always launch a staunch defence on the basis that Norwich City matters to an awful lot of people, and passionately so, and when the club performs well, the whole city benefits as we are currently finding out. That's why it gets more than its fair share of coverage.

During the last few days, some correspondence I've received has centred upon a restaurant review we carried last week which was critical of the place in question. Some have stated that we were wrong to publish a negative review or that we were overly critical and will have caused it damage.

I would like to use this column to respond.

Reviews like this remain one of the most popular elements of both the newspaper and online. They have been a staple of local and national media for many years and I think one of the reasons they remain popular is because people expect them to be independent and a fair reflection of what that person experienced. If we had a policy of only running positive reviews, what would be the point of doing them?

That said we are of course aware of the potential for damage they can cause and, as was the case here, we try to be honest but not brutal. The reviewer in this instance made it clear it was solely his opinion and that many other people near to him appeared to be enjoying themselves.

We also have a policy when we do a negative review of offering a follow up six months later. I know the restaurant in question is planning a revamp and once that is completed we'll be back and hopefully the improvements will shine through.

We launched our Eat Norfolk brand two years ago with the sole aim of championing a very important sector in the community and in that time I'm proud of the support restaurants, cafes, pubs and more have been given both in our print pages and online.

But of course I may be wrong in all of this. All editors should be judged by their readers and it may be that you disagree and feel we should not be publishing such reviews when they may be negative or even publishing reviews at all.

Please do feel free to let me know.

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