Pranks, stories and the media

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The latest tragic news of a nurse's death, seemingly because of a ratings driven prank call, has brought back to me a time in my life when I almost saw no option but to end things.

I was the "victim" of a few stories in both this paper and the NZ Herald - the stories were blatantly incorrect and badly researched, yet once they went to print they became gospel truth.

When I asked a journalist why they would publish something which had no newsworthiness and was clearly going to destroy my life, the answer was "it's my job...". I'm sure I have heard that refrain before.

Much like the poor nurse in the UK, I felt that I had little choice but to end things - luckily for me my attempt was unsuccessful and family and friends have been there for me as I have rebuilt my life.

It has made me think more and more about the role of the media, and what they class as "news" or entertainment - journalism used to be a noble profession, but when it becomes used to sell papers or gain listeners, it can ruin the lives of thoussands of people.

Is anyone brave enough to stop it though?

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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