Our readers tell us we are biased, opinionated and do a good job of it

By News Reporters During March and April this year we asked our readers to take part in a survey where we asked seven questions about the content of Fitzrovia News. The responses broadly supported our editorial coverage but offered some guidance about where there is room for improvement. 

Rather than report less of anything respondents generally wanted more coverage of both news about planning and environment and historical features, and felt our coverage of business and profiles of local people was about right.

Many people held strong opinions about our coverage saying we are biased and opinionated — pro-choice, pro-affordable housing and against commercial developments and big business.

Fitzrovia News editors feel that there is often a huge amount of coverage in regional and national papers about property developments in Fitzrovia, yet little coverage about the needs for affordable housing, open space and the fact that there is a community of people living here most of whom rent their homes and don’t welcome the increase in property prices which have driven many of them from the neighbourhood. Small businesses are also affected by the property speculation which has forced many of them out. We make no apologies about being biased and telling their story. We also make no apologies for reporting about harrassment of women who are trying to access healthcare facilities.

Surprisingly no-one told us we are conceited and arrogant.

About 70 percent of the respondents were from people who said they either live in Fitzrovia, or both live and work in Fitzrovia.

We held the survey over six weeks on our website and we received 25 responses.  This is rather a low response rate considering during that six week period we had around 15,000 visits to our website.

Summary of responses

1. Please tell us what you think in general about the news and features we publish. What is most important to you?

You do a good job of making us aware of what is going on in the neighbourhood. I’d like to see continued focus on planning and development, and events that will happen in the area.

Too Tabloid in style

I like the Fitzrovia News and think it’s much better than any other local paper. I want to read about the history of the area and have unbiased coverage of development proposals. It always seems very one-sided and left wing, and I would expect it to be politically neutral. It makes a presumption about the politics of its readership and this is a turn-off – just as the Daily Mail is a turn-off for being too right wing.

I read on line and love all the local news and features. As I live locally I want to know about planning and development issues and how politics is shaping our community. You have some very knowledgeable writers who tell us about the local history which adds an interesting dimension to the News.

2. Would you like to see more news about current affairs and events?

Survey question 2.61 percent said they wanted about the same amount; 39 percent wanted more; no-one said they wanted less.

3. Would you like to see more or less historical features?

Question 3.48 percent wanted more; 43 wanted the same amount; 9 percent wanted less.

4. Would you like to see more or less articles about housing, environment, planning, licensing and building proposals?

Question 4.54 percent wanted more; 42 percent wanted the same amount; 4 percent wanted less.

5. Would you like to read more or less interviews with local people?

Question 5.57 percent wanted the same amount; 39 percent wanted more; 4 percent wanted less.

6. Would you like to read more about business in Fitzrovia?

Question 6.57 percent wanted the same amount; 30 percent wanted more; 13 percent wanted less.

7. What do you think about the accuracy of what we publish? Do you think we are biased or too opinionated? Is there anything we don’t cover and should?

I think the housing stuff is from one point of view – but I largely share it!

Yes you are biased and opinionated but clearly I take that into account when I read the paper!! I do think you should consider having a column along the lines of “Another View” written by someone who isn’t opposed to every change or development, and/or would like to see Fitzrovia develop into a vibrant, high-density neighbourhood rather than maintain the it is a “village”.

Sometimes I do feel that the Fitzrovia News can be little over opinionated when it comes to local matters. We can’t always be against the big businesses and should possibly examine what benefits they may bring (if any). At the end of the day, they are here and we won’t be able to get rid of them. Not all residents are moving out and not all the new residents are from Asia. I would like to see more information about new shops and businesses. At the end of the day, it’s a damn good read. Even my 13 year old son reads it.

Very opinionated , its so clear sometimes who side you’re on, and this I feel should not be the case, you should report the case as the facts are, eg I was reading something you did on new shops opening in Charlotte Street and yet you reported as closing down of shops and reported it like you don’t believe in progress, there has got to be a balance. As the new company had done a open day, etc, so I thought your reporting was unfair. Sometimes a have seen comments on the Facebook by yourselves on Government issues, not balanced!!!

I love your investigative journalism and how you unearth some of the most interesting and scurrilous stories. I know a fair amount of journalists in and out of the mainstream, and I think this paper stands with the best. Well done!

I feel the paper is well balanced. Of course there will be a bias against large housing projects which disregard the locality but feel the reporting does provide evidence of benefits as well as the downsides of these issues. I feel there could be more about placing Fitzrovian social issues in a wider London setting.

I don’t mind you taking a position, but I strongly disagree on your incredibly pro-choice stance. Occasionally I feel your cross the line from “have a position” to “Mis-represent the other position” on that issue.

About the respondents

Question 8.38 percent said they lived in Fitzrovia; 33 percent said the live and work in Fitzrovia; 21 percent were visitors; 8 percent were from people who work in Fitzrovia; there were no respondents identifying themselves as being a “business owner and resident” or “a business owner”.

Fitzrovia News is published by the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association to inform and entertain the people who live and work in Fitzrovia. More information about Fitzrovia News is here and information about the neighbourhood can be found here.

3 Comments on Our readers tell us we are biased, opinionated and do a good job of it

  1. With just twenty-five responses to your “survey” over six weeks I’m surprised that you have even bothered to tabulate and publish the results. You are in a world of your own.

    • Really? Would you rather we ask people to take the time to fill out a survey and then not bother to publish the results? And we did not have to tabulate the results, the software does that automatically. If people are bothered to respond, we can be bothered to publish. Linus Rees, assistant editor.

  2. Yes; if there are only twenty-five responses.

    Are those twenty-five survey respondents your friends? Just joking.

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