Why and in what state of mind Andrea Hill wrote her 1,850 word message for the Inside SCC newsletter last week is unknown. It was clearly intended to be a personal defence as well as an attack on the media but it has rebounded to haunt her.
Nigel Pickover, the Evening Star editor, also selects short extracts and asks 15 pertinent questions (in the paper and on the web). For example:
Andrea Hill: My family and I used to enjoy reading the newspapers – I’ve always thought that our papers are a great British institution. But once you’ve featured in them you realise how much of the copy is not true.
1) Evening Star – please will you tell us which Evening Star articles have contained any inaccuracies? It is our policy to correct any errors forthwith.
Both the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express have written about her message to employees and councillors both taking the line that she had accused her detractors of “envy”. The Mirror contented itself with a story about Hill’s hotel bills.
And today, media commentator Roy Greenslade has examined the issue of Andrea Hill and press reporting in his Guardian blog (Wordblog is mentioned). Under the heading Council chief rails against the press for doing its job, he writes:
Even if we were to take Hill’s explanations for her spending decisions at face value (and that’s difficult enough), there is no getting away from the fact that lack of transparency by her council means that journalists have had to winkle out information by using FoI requests.
At a time when the people of Suffolk are watching the council dismantle their public services, it is surely necessary for the council to be as open as possible.