Liverpool Echo editor on Hillsborough coverage: Our focus was on marking the moment in the proper way

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Liverpool Echo editor Alastair Machray said his focus was on “marking the moment” rather than sales as his paper published special editions to mark the Hillsborough disaster Inquest verdicts.

The Trinity Mirror title brought out a special lunchttime edition on Tuesday, to mark the inquest verdicts, which referenced the lyrics from Liverpool football club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

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The Echo then followed up with a special edition on Wednesday featuring 37 pages of coverage and another dramatic front page.

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The Echo helped bring about the fresh Hillsborough inquests with its long-running “Justice for the 96″ campaign.

Yesterday’s verdict found that 96 football fans, 95 of them Liverpool fans, were unlawfully killed.

Echo editor Alastair Machray, said: “”We are not worried about sales, we are concerned about marking the moment. Can we help Liverpool mark the occasion in the proper way?”

Echo reporter Eleanor Barlow covered all 267 days of the inquests.

She wrote a line by line live blog covering proceedings as well as news stories for the website and print edition which included a longer piece and a shorter snapshot each day, headlined: “Five things we learned today”.

Quoted in the Echo she said: “Many families weren’t able to attend the inquests on a regular basis, and the Echo was determined to keep them, and all our readers, as well-informed as possible.

“I’m proud that we wanted to cover everything, and there was nothing we missed.”

Families of those killed also paid tribute to Barlow’s efforts. Steve Kelly, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, who lost his brother, Mike, 38, in the disaster, told the paper: “People could read Eleanor’s reports and feel as if they were there, because they were so well-written. She is so professional and polite – she’s a credit to the ECHO.”

Sara Williams, who lost her brother, Kevin, 15, told the paper: “I don’t think you could fault Eleanor’s coverage of the inquests in the ECHO. It was just excellent.

“Because of work, I couldn’t always get to the inquests and, as Steve Kelly has said, reading Eleanor’s reports was just like being in that room in Warrington.”

In the city where the tragedy took place, Sheffield, the city’s daily paper the Sheffield Star published a 16-page tribute pullout which ran with the headline: “Hillsborough this time it’s the truth”. The paper itself ran with the headline “Sheffield in the dock” in bold white type amid a black background.

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