Bristol Evening Post baits Press over bear focus

By Sarah Lagan

A Bristol Evening Post journalist has criticised its sister paper
the Western Daily Press for launching a campaign to save bears in China.

Press editor Terry Manners was in the pub when the Post’s district
news editor Dennis Payter questioned the relevance of his campaign,
which raised £100,000 in just 28 days for tortured Moon bears.

He said readers are often “suckered” by pictures of cuddly animals and Manners should focus his energies on local issues.

Manners offered Payter a page in his paper to voice his concerns, which he accepted. This attracted a flood of readers’

letters in support of the campaign.

Payter
said he was suspicious of the reaction as he did not personally receive
any correspondence despite his name and paper being printed. He said:
“I was surprised there was not one letter in support as most people
I’ve spoken to supported my take on the subject.”

Manners, who
will receive the RSPCA’s national award in June for the Western Daily
Press’s animal cruelty coverage, said: “It prompted quite a reaction –
I could not publish every letter.

The readers were incensed.

“The response (to the campaign) has been phenomenal.”

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