The public interest test - Question 2
The question is one of four relating to The public interest test training module.
The police have confirmed that the son was arrested. He has not been charged but police say "enquiries are continuing". Your next step is to:
a) report the facts as known.
b) seek more information from the son, his parent, his friends, colleagues etc.
c) do nothing at this stage – decide to wait for more information to emerge.
d) drop the story.
Correct answer: b) Seek more information from the son, his parent, his friends, colleagues etc.
At this stage you are still not in a position to evaluate whether the story is in the public interest or not. You simply do not know enough either to drop the story or to publish it. Doing nothing is not an option – your competitors may well also be investigating and if there IS a story, they will beat you to it.
Bob Eggington has been a journalist since 1969. He began in newspapers before joining the BBC where he worked for almost 30 years, including a spell as the head of the BBC's political and parliamentary unit. He was the project director responsible for launching BBC News Online in 1997. Bob currently works as a media strategy consultant in the UK and overseas.
This site has been given permission to use and adapt elements of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines in these short editorial ethics modules. They have been updated to reflect changing international, regional and cultural variations.