Earlier this year, the Schonrock family of London, were big news. In August, a non-story was widely reported concerning the ‘poor parenting skills’ of the couple, who live in a leafy, safe London suburb and who send their children to the £12,000-a-year Alleyn’s Junior School in Dulwich.
Oliver and Gillian Schonrock let their son and daughter, five and eight respectively, cycle to school on their own. Parts of the mass media attacked the Schonrock’s for their supposed lack of parental care.
The Daily Mail was one of the newspapers abuzz with the story that, in a supposed age of stranger danger and murderous traffic, young children are allowed to cycle to school by themselves, carrying stories such as “Couple threatened with social services because their children ride bikes to school”.
On this story the Daily Mail showed a picture of two (unrelated) children cycling in traffic to illustrate a story about two children cycling on footways.
Dr Sara Dorman, a political scientist based in Edinburgh, complained about the picture to the Press Complaints Commission.
The PCC has now responded to Dorman:
"Subsequent to the receipt of your complaint, the matter was referred to the Commission for its initial consideration. Following comments expressed by the Commission, the office contacted the newspaper to inquire as to whether it would be minded to remove the photograph in question from the online article.
"I am pleased to inform you that the newspaper agreed to the proposed action, and the article has since been updated.
"As you may be aware, the advantage to resolving the complaint in this way is that a summary of the matter is published on the PCC website."
The resolution has yet to appear on the PPC website but when it does it will appear in the ‘resolved complaints’ section.
According to the CityCycling forum of Edinburgh, the resolution will say:
"Dr Sara Dorman complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article about a couple who allowed their children to cycle to school along the pavements had misled readers by including a photograph of two children cycling on a road.
"The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the photograph from the online article."