Different approaches, same powerful result

The Guardian and the News of the World are not in the habit of seeing eye to eye on many issues.

So
it was with surprise, bordering on astonishment, that many in the
business will have seen Guardian photographer Dan Chung credited on the
red-top’s front-page splash last weekend.

Chung’s portrait of
Martine Wright, one of the victims of the 7 July bomb campaign, had
been used on his own paper’s Saturday front page to accompany an
excellent interview by Sandra Laville.

It was a moving piece, in
which Wright talked about her recollections of the day in which she
boarded the Circle Line train and took a seat three feet away from
Shehzad Tanweer, the suicide bomber whose backpack bomb was to rip the
carriage apart, killing three people and seriously injuring many more.

Wright’s
fight to come to terms with the fact that her legs had to be amputated,
and the realisation that her compensation would be capped at £500,000,
made for a powerful read.

The News of the World waded in the
following day with its own take on the issue, highlighting the “scandal
to shame the Government to the core” – the fact that none of the
victims of all of the 7 July bombs had yet received a penny in
compensation from the state.

It was a typically punchy launch of
what the newspaper called “one of the most important campaigns in its
history”, a demand that the Government acts immediately to ensure that
victims of terror are given parity with victims in civil cases; that
immediate short-term payments are made and long-term security is
guaranteed within six months; and that a cabinet minister is made
directly accountable.

Support from its readers has already started to flood in, using the coupon it printed to petition the Prime Minister.

Two very different newspapers.

Two very different styles.

One very compelling message.

By
Monday morning, when The Guardian ran the second part of its piece with
Martine Wright, in which she talked about her financial plight, Tony
Blair had already told Andrew Marr on his Sunday AM television show
that he would personally look into the issue of compensation.

That’s the power of journalism – in whatever form it reaches its audience.

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