Regionals beat nationals on Soham verdict

Regional evening papers managed to provide readers with comprehensive coverage of the Soham murder verdict a day ahead of the national press.

The guilty verdict for murderer Ian Huntley was returned at around midday, giving the regionals just an hour or so to turn the story around.

Britain’s biggest regional evening, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, produced an eight-page pullout, together with a front page and page five, within two hours of the verdicts breaking.

Chief news editor Mark Drew said: “We had been told what background to expect from PA, but none of the copy was released until the verdicts at just after midday.

“There was obviously huge interest in the outcome of the case from our readers and our team managed to provide a same-day and very detailed package of news and analysis. It meant that the coverage provided by the national newspapers had already been published by the Express & Star 24 hours earlier.”

Birmingham’s Evening Mail held up the presses as soon as the verdict was announced to ensure a front-page splash on the early district editions.

Staff then filled the first five pages with the verdict and background stories in time for the main city edition and added a further two slip pages once the print run had started, ensuring 60,000 copies had the full sevenpage Soham coverage. The paper reported a 2.2 per cent rise in sales week-on-week.

The Grimsby Telegraph put out a 12page supplement on Carr and a 32page supplement on Huntley as well as eight pages of live news on the day the verdict was announced. The Cambridge Evening News, which covers Soham, produced a 20-page special.

By Dominic Ponsford

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