Andy Beckett: I hope I can visit the North East again some time, and write a more optimistic piece


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Following Andy Beckett’s article in Saturday’s Guardian, there has been (rightly in my opinion) a major outcry about how the North East is depicted in national press.

In terms of the piece itself, the two key interviewees, Chi Onwurah MP and Edward Twiddy from the North East LEP, have both said they were misrepresented. Several blogs rebutted the findings including one from Paul Smith that is strongly supported by an article on Buzzfeed.

The Guardian’s Northern editor Helen Pidd weighed in with her take on the article.

The petition I set up has gathered over 500 signatures – thanks to all who came out in support of our glorious region. Although no revisit from Andy Beckett is forthcoming, he has written an explanatory piece for the Journal. Whether or not we agree with his response, it is good that the Guardian has been forced to look at its reporting in terms of how it describes the North East.

Here is what the Guardian’s Melissa Denes had to say: “Andy’s original draft was longer, as is the case with most articles we run – there is always an editing process, and we do not know exactly how much print space we will have at the time of commissioning. In this instance it was cut by around 1000 words (or a not unusual 20%), and care was taken that the balance between positives and negatives remained the same.

“As well as Helen’s blog, we have given half the letters page to the subject today, and there will be more in this weekend’s magazine. Andy has written a piece for the Newcastle Journal. We have absolutely no wish to alienate readers, and are happy to correct errors – but I do feel his piece reflected much that was positive about the region, as well as causes for concern.” 

Let’s hope this unhappy experience prompts all the nationals to consider their (lack of) presence in the region and to keep balance in mind at all times.



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