Journalist urges press to respect funeral privacy of tragic nine-year-old

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Journalist Chris Wheal has written a moving account on his blog of being on the receiving end of widespread press attention after his nine-year-old nephew Jamie Bray died in a tragic accident on a rope swing last week.

After offering to handle the press for his family, he said: “the first thing I have noticed is just how good the local press is and how lazy the nationals are”.

He notes that The Telegraph used a syndicated Southern Daily Echo story “word for word”, but felt the need to add in a detail about the price of his sister’s house.

Despite clearly making himself available as a family spokesman, he says that not a single national news organisation rang him. Instead they relied on PA and cuttings, “classic churnalism” – Chris notes.

Concerned that a “media scrum” will happen at the funeral, Chris is continuing to act as a spokesman for the family providing more details and photos.

He said: “My sister is not me. She is an inherently private person, as is her husband. They have never courted publicity. They have never sought to be in the press. They are not celebrities. I ask the press to consider that and leave them alone.”

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