2000 pairs of Hen Harrier are missing from the UK – overwhelmingly due to widespread, systematic and illegal persecution by grouse shooting interests. The results of a UK-wide survey were released today: there were 545 pairs in 2016 compared with 633 in 2010.
The media response:
Overall, there are quite a few mentions of these results, including on the wildlife-desert of the Today programme, but very little analysis or comment.
BBC online – Hen Harrier plunges towards extinction in England
Independent – Hen harrier population crashes in UK as illegal killing takes its toll
Daily Mail – Only four breeding pairs of Hen Harrier left in England, survey finds
The Times – Only four breeding pairs left of hen harriers
The I – Hen Harriers are on the brink of extinction in England
Belfast Telegraph – Only four breeding pairs of Hen Harriers left in England, survey says
East London and West Essex Guardian – Only four breeding pairs of Hen Harrier left in England, survey finds
Sunday Post – Hen Harrier population suffers decline in Scotland
I guess there are more things than this but I cannot find any coverage in the Guardian for example.
You’ll notice that most of the coverage and many of the headlines are very very similar – they are mostly cut and paste versions of the RSPB press releases issued in Scotland and from Sandy. There is little analysis and little challenge of those who should be reducing wildlife crime. In fact there is not a great deal of difference between the coverage of this story in The Times and in the East London and West Essex Guardian!
Proper journalism would do the following: 1, what happened?, 2) why did it happen?, 3) what’s the solution? We haven’t seen much of that in the coverage of this story.
Hen Harrier Day rallies will be held in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on 5 and 6 August this year – for initial details see here.