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Website to offer 'right-to-reply service' for PROs

A service aiming to give PROs the right to reply to 'misrepresenting' articles in the media was launched this week. Newscounter, which is billing itself as an ‘impartial right-to-reply service', can be found at CEO Matthew Cain insisted the service would publish ­rebuttals in full. ‘It is not our job to decide which side of the story is more convincing,' he said. ‘Our team monitors stories that are controversial and looks out for articles that are not balanced or have not quoted the company or organisation involved. Then we allow that company or organisation to give its side of the story.' The Newscounter service has the backing of a number of industry heavyweights. Nigel Clarke, formerly chairman of GJW, is its chairman, while former Chime stalwart Sir Stephen Sherbourne is a non-executive director. Cain, a former account director at Four Communications, claimed the service would be particularly useful to the large number of journalists and consumers who research brands, companies and organisations online. Newscounter uses search engine optimisation to ensure that company responses to any charges levelled by journalists figure high up in the results. It will also alert key stakeholders - from journalists and bloggers to a company's employees - when a response has been posted. ‘Quotes from companies often appear last in news stories and get edited out by the sub-editors,' said Cain. ‘Sometimes the organisations involved do not have time to investigate and give a proper response, given journalists' deadlines.' A one-off use of the service would cost £300 for a large corporation. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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