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Community Links blog

An invitation to journalists – come and spend time with the people I know

By Guest

Martin Johnstone is the Voluntary Chief Executive of Faith in Community Scotland and Secretary to Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission.

Virtually every day of my life I am fortunate to meet some absolutely incredible people. Folks like Jessie, Jean, Blair, Donna, Ghazala, Marie, Carol and countless others.

These are people who despite the poverty that they have to struggle against – the rotten housing, the appalling benefits, the regular threat of violence – are resilient, resourceful and determined that things will be better both for those they love and also for those they don’t know but who share their predicament.

I am sad that other people are less fortunate than I am – that they don’t have the privilege of those conversations, meetings and life-changing encounters. I am particularly sad that their view of people living in poverty is shaped by journalists who, on the whole, don’t have the time (or inclination) to find out what is real.

I don’t want to tar all media with the same brush – just as I don’t want them to pretend that all people living in poverty are bad folk, just because a few of them are. I want to congratulate, for example, Glasgow’s Evening Times for the stories it prints around the city’s community champions.

And I want to encourage some journalists to come and spend some time with the awesome, spectacular and incredible people that I know – and then to tell their readers and viewers about what they have encountered.

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