The wife of a Spanish reporter held for three months by militants in Syria has broken her silence in the hope that publicity might achieve what negotiation has not. Martin Chulov's report for the Guardian sheds new light on the kidnapping of journalists and aid workers in Syria and highlights the perils of what is plainly one of the most dangerous conflicts for reporters in recent history.
After spending two weeks work experience at the KM group in Canterbury I realised the sheer importance of local newspapers promoting local charity events and fundraisers.
For example, during the second week I spoke to ex-Falklands paratrooper, Colin Rees, 48, of Whitstable, Kent.
Mr Rees told me about how he, and a friend, will be enduring the wrath of the infamous and unpredictable British summertime weather as they attempt to fly from John O’Groats in Scotland to Dover in Kent via paramotors – in which they will be suspended by parachutes and propelled by fan motors that are mounted on their backs. I was asked, by my editors, to angle the article on promoting the charity event, Flight for Heroes, which will take off from May 18th, raising money for Help for Heroes.
Mr Rees pleaded for me to include details of how people could donate money to their cause because of the importance of the impact that it has on the amount that they raise. The article, which will be published in the Whitstable Gazette on Thursday, May 10th, will be read by an approximate 3,000 Whitstable residents. Mr Rees, who has a good understanding of how media limelight affects funds raised, has also approached BBC Kent and ITV and invited them to the take off and final day landing in the hope that the attention will increase the amount of donations they will receive for their endeavour.
The importance of limelight for charity events and fundraisers in newspapers is not just seen on a local scale. Nationally, charities and events are advertised by newspapers throughout news releases and reporter comments. A recent example of how much media attention affects the amount of funds raised for a charity is the sad and unfortunate case of the death of Claire Squires, ‘the nation’s sweetheart’.
The 30-year-old hairdresser from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, collapsed half a mile short of the finish line during the London Marathon and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. Miss Squires, who was running in aid of the Samaritans, raised initial funds of a respectable £500. In the wake of the media attention following her death, in a matter of weeks, funds rocketed to almost £1 million. Obviously, this is an extreme case of where a charity received global media attention, but similar things are printed in the news every day.
The question is will charities remain to obtain the same amount of media attention without being printed locally or nationally? Will Facebook updates, user tweets and online articles provide less, more or the same amount of attention for charities as print does?