Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 10:01 UK

Tragedy area's media invitation

The group is concerned about the way Bridgend was portrayed in the media

Young people from Bridgend are hoping to convince journalists in London who covered the county's recent suicides to attend their youth council meeting.

They say they hardly recognised the depiction of Bridgend in some of the media coverage and feel that the reporting has cast a shadow.

The group are travelling to London to give reporters a letter.

Since the start of 2007, 19 people under the age of 27 have apparently taken their own lives in the county.

Bridgend's youth mayor Rebecca Newton, who lives in Brackla, said the group felt there had been "a lot of sensationalist reporting about Bridgend" during the time of the suicides.

She said they hoped that reporters would take up their invitation so that "they will get a better view of Bridgend than the one they got when they wrote the reports".

She added: "They came to us, [and now] we're going to them, hopefully showing them that we have an active youth council."

It's not the depressing town the media has actually portrayed it to be
Craig Lambourn

Deputy youth mayor Angharad Reade, who lives in the town of Bridgend, said they felt the reporting gave the impression that the suicides were concentrated in the town, rather than across the whole county.

"We really want to put Bridgend back on the straight and narrow, as it were, to show a true representation of how the town really is and the county is," she said.

"Everyone still thinks Bridgend isn't a nice place and it's really not. It's a really good place, it's really not that bad."

'Nice place'

Craig Lambourn, who was youth mayor during the time of the suicide spate, said they hoped the visit would not cause more grief.

"We certainly don't want all the grief and heartache to come back, we just want to make Bridgend return it to its former glory, so to speak," he said.

"It's not the depressing town the media has actually portrayed it to be. It's actually a nice place to live and there are plenty of opportunities available to young people."

A recent debate was held by the Press Complaint Commission (PCC) following criticism of the media coverage of the deaths.

Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones told the meeting at Bridgend Recreation Centre that reports of the deaths in the county had created "a story based on false premises".

PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer said the press watchdog would reflect on what it had heard and produce guidance for the media on how suicide cases should be reported, which could lead to changes in its code of conduct.

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Young Bridgend people discuss media coverage of the recent suicides.

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