News and Star photographer Paula Paisley’s home was submerged in eight
feet of water while her husband and two children were trapped upstairs
during the torrential floods that killed three people in Cumbria last
As Paisley and her family were lifted from their home to
safety by coastguards she managed to take these pictures which appeared
in the News and Star .
Mike Scott, picture editor at the News and
Star, said: “It brought the drama straight into the office. Paula and
her family were traumatised.”
On the Saturday of the floods many of the staff came into the office on their day off to help with the paper’s coverage.
News and Star was forced to pull its Saturday edition following a power
cut at 6.30am that left 100,000 people without electricity.
emergency generator managed to power computers and lighting for a short
amount of time allowing the staff to produce a paper, but only 5,000
copies were printed before the generator packed up.
Other papers printed at the site, including The Sun , had to find alternative printers.
newspaper’s website came into its own on the Saturday. There were
minute-by-minute updates and according to deputy editor, Nick Turner,
the site received more than 500,000 page impressions on the Saturday,
when the normal figure is around 40,000.
Turner said: “We put an
appeal on the site for the public to send in any picture. By 7.45am we
had a front page picture of an ambulance stuck in the floods ready for
the paper that never was.”
On Sunday a team of around 20 staff
worked around the clock to produce 34 pages of flood coverage, as well
as six pages of extra news for a special edition on Monday. The pages
were sent to sister title North West Evening Mail in Barrow, which
printed 55,000 copies of the News and Star , more than double its
normal print run.
At this point the News and Star office was one
of the only places in Carlisle to have power apart from the emergency
services thanks to editor Keith Sutton persuading the chief constable,
who decided where to distribute the electricity first.
recalled: “I said the priority was with our printing presses. No one
could hear the radio or watch the television as the transmitters were
down so I argued that we were an emergency function.”
The paper has set up an appeal to raise £500,000 for those worst affected.