SOME weeks ago, I interviewed a woman about a robbery. She wanted to raise awareness about the incident by having a story in the local newspaper, and in the end this worked out well, but she was extremely nervous.

She kept worrying about the story being “twisted”. There was nothing in the story to twist, and even if there had been, as a local newspaper, we’re careful with our readers.

She asked me to read back to her what she had said, and I did, word-for-word, from my shorthand notes. Even though she knew they were her words, she wasn’t happy. She wanted to change what she had said in case I misinterpreted her meaning.

Eventually, after some tinkering and more concerns, I said: “Please don’t worry. I don’t work for The Sun.”

What I hope people realise, after this week’s events, and The Sun’s shameful front page about Ben Stokes’ 30-year-old family tragedy, is that there is a huge gulf between some parts of the press and others.

No newspapers are popular with everyone, often because we report truths that some people don’t want to hear, but there is a difference between responsible, factual reporting and running a story for the sake of it.

The Sun has always been controversial, a tabloid at the sharpest edge of its game, and it has overstepped the mark on many occasions, not least with Hillsborough.

Decisions made on newspapers are often made very quickly. They are not always the right decisions, and I think the top brass of the editorial team at The Sun will be doing some navel-gazing for the next few weeks, and rightly so.

Newspapers are under huge pressure to provide information – and hold authority to account – while balancing those issues with the need to also be interesting enough for people to read. It is a delicate balancing act, and newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun tend to fall heavily on the side of being interesting. Which sometimes means sensationalist.

The Daily Mail is always interested in what the subject of the story’s profession is, or whether they are a foreign national, because they like to pander to their “aspirational middle class” readers and particularly enjoy feeding prejudices.

But that section of the press is a very small part of it. The rest are trying to be as responsible as possible while also trying to be of interest, and relevant, to readers. We don’t always get it right, and what is truth to one person is a very different truth to another, so more often than not we will go to the other side for balance. Even then, often reporters can only work with the facts we have, and have to work within quite tight legal constraints (believe it or not, we are among the most regulated press in the free world).

I’m angry with The Sun, because now the groups like Hacked Off, which wants tighter controls over the press, have a huge amount of ammunition. The Sun skirted just on the right side of the law, but in terms of ethics, it jumped right into a large pit of stinking manure.

The story was ill-judged and heartless, and may have been a matter of public record but it was unnecessary. I just hope that the rest of the media don’t have to pay for the mistakes of one newspaper.