New guidelines have been created for reporting on road collisions...
Did we need them?
...following in the footsteps of similar best practice on stories relating to suicide, domestic violence and refugees.
Oh, wait, I see where this is going...
The draft guidelines, which have been put out for consultation in the hope of becoming an agreed industry standard, come after years of cyclists feeling frustrated by road deaths being painted as “unavoidable accidents” rather than “the result of very avoidable criminal behaviour”.
But not by them, of course. Oh no!
The new suggested rules could ban the use of the word “accident” when describing collisions and crashes to meet higher standards of impartiality, especially when the facts of what happened are not yet known.
Well, that's actually quite logical, I'll grant you.
They also want journalists to avoid mention of helmets, high-vis or any other protective equipment “except when demonstrably relevant” and call for human actors to always be mentioned in coverage of collisions – for example by saying a driver, not a car, hit a cyclist.
And so's the latter. It's always been a personal peeve of mine. But the mention of lack of safety clothing is perverse...
Who is arguing for this, anyway?
The guidelines have been produced by the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy in collaboration with the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council, state-approved press regulator Impress, road safety charities and a range of policing, academic and expert figures.
Ah. The usual suspects.
H/T: James via Twitter