Local newspapers are where news begins. Without their thousands of newsgatherers finding stories our industry would rapidly find it was built on sand.
The latest job cuts at Newsquest and Johnston Press show that this part of the industry remains under huge financial pressure despite growing its audience.
To highlight the great work done on local newspapers I’m launching a new weekly blog (and TV show) highlighting some of the best local newspaper stories I’ve spotted each week.
If you’d like to see your work, or the work of your local newspaper, featured please email a link (and PDF if possible) to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d also love to see examples of great headlines and photos.
Here’s my first round of local press picks (scroll down to see me talk about them with Mike Mendoza on Brighton-based Latest TV):
“INDEFENSIBLE”: A powerful front page leader from the Yorkshire Evening Post with one word set against the image of a flooded Leeds. The city was indefensible, from the elements, and so was the Government’s response.
“The Northern Powerhouse is nothing when it is under several feet of mucky water. This city must have critical inward investment to make sure it has the protection from floods on this scale ever happening again. What’s good enough for London is good enough for Leeds.”
There was more fantastic flooding coverage from the Halifax Courier which underlines for me the power of print. These days when most news stories are viewed on mobile phones, nothing else has the power of a newspaper front page.
The Wigan Evening Post used a Freedom of Information Act request to find out that “24 youngsters were found with an illegal item which could cause injury to someone last year”. This was up from 16 in 2014. Full marks to them for using an FoI to Greater Manchester Police to generate a grabby New Year’s Day exclusive.
Police used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to grab Lyons’ telecoms records because of concerns he was having unauthorised contact with journalists.
The Argus quotes Graham Cox, a retired chief superintenden,t who said: “I have always felt that it is in both the police’s and the public’s interests to be as open as you can with the media and it is the media’s job to hold the police and other public services to account.”
The Western Daily Press had a heart-warming tale about Congresbury where locals marked the anniversary of their local church by performing more than 800 anonymous random acts of kindness.
And another feelgood story came from the Oban Times which told how locals rallied to raised £7,000 to help a local couple whose baby was born three months premature, with one even offering the use of their house which was nearby the hospital.
Watch: The Newspapers on Brighton-based local TV station Latest TV