lit up for the King
In 1985, when Freemasonry seemed to be
constantly under attack in the media, the
writer and journalist Bernard Levin wrote
two very supportive pieces on Freemasonry
in his regular column in The Times. As he
was not a Freemason he was invited to
have lunch with a small group of senior
Freemasons at Freemasons’ Hall. It proved
a most valuable occasion.
He saw our problem as being that
Freemasonry had been taken out of the
public consciousness in the post-World
War II period, resulting in the public not
knowing what Freemasonry was.
As he put it – it is part of human nature to
be suspicious of things we have no knowledge
of, and suggested that the best way of altering
public suspicion was a return to the openness
of the pre-war period, to work with the
media and to bring Freemasonry to the
public’s notice – in a positive way – on a
Grand Lodge took the advice to heart,
but quickly realised that the centre could
not deal with all the media. In the late 1980s,
Provincial Grand Masters were invited to
appoint Information Officers, who would
have much better local knowledge than the
centre, and could establish personal links
with their local media.
As a result we now have a network of
volunteer Information Officers who, with
support from the centre and a great deal of
hard work, have had an effect. In many
Provinces, Freemasonry is now reported in
the local press as interesting local social and
The national media is a different game.
National newspapers are only interested
in stories with a “that day news” content,
which will give them an edge over
their competitors. The Grand Lodge
Communications Team regularly meets
with journalists and have found that the
Craft’s belief that there is a strong anti-
Masonic element in the media is untrue.
Most journalists, like the public, have
little knowledge of Freemasonry. Many of
those we have met have become fascinated
and keen to write, but hit the problem
of their editor wanting a “that day” news
angle on which to hang the piece.
In that, Freemasonry is in a similar
position to the many other voluntary
organisations, such as Rotary, Round
Table, Women’s Institute, Guides, Scouts
etc, whose activities are rarely noticed in
the national media.
That said, there have been references to
Freemasonry in the national media over the
last three years showing it in a positive light.
As examples: The Guardian interviewed
Anne Kent in the Grand Secretary’s office
for their series “Women in a man’s world”;
The Independent did a two-page spread on
Freemasons’ Hall as a gem of Art Deco
architecture; The Times produced a half
page on Freemasons’ Hall as a film location;
The Daily Telegraph carries brief notices of
the meetings of Grand Lodge and Grand
Chapter; obituaries of major figures now
include reference to their Masonic activities.