THE story on the front of Saturday’s Echo about a racy, drunken party at a boutique hotel has already stirred up a lot of debate. 

It has attracted thousands of website hits and the two bestselling British newspapers have already printed their own versions of the exclusive, which was broken by our reporter Nick Gullon. 

It is flattering when other papers take one of your stories, and it’s pleasing to see it is being read by people around the world, but those are not reasons enough to publish a story. 

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The tale itself is near-the-knuckle and unlike some national titles we’re not in the business of shocking  readers for the sake of it. 

In our daily news conferences we take time to debate the pros and cons of stories which we think might have the potential to cause some of our readers distress. These could be court cases which reveal details of violence, stories involving crimes against children, animal cruelty cases, or pictures which might turn stomachs if we published them online or in the paper.

In many cases we make changes, include warnings, and redact details or drop entire stories if we feel they are not appropriate. 

When details of the hotel sex party  emerged it was clear that it had the potential to divide opinion. The main reason that we decided to publish it was that it revealed important information following an earlier story we had reported regarding allegations of food poisoning at the same hotel involving members of the same party.

Despite its lurid content - which we reported in a straight, non-sensational way - this was a tale which deserved to be told.

We therefore make no apologies for setting the record straight on an important ongoing story and providing an entertaining read in the process.