Riots in the UK: Thursday’s regional newspaper front pages

Thursday’s front pages revealed just how far the riots – or the fear of the riots – had spread.

Thursday is publication day for many weekly newspapers, and in London in particular, many weeklies sought to find a way to tell the story of what happened in their area. Papers including the Bexley Times, the East London Advertiser and the Islington Gazette had first-hand accounts of how communities were turned into war zones.

The Kilburn Times carried a different line, telling how traders fought off ‘copy-cat looters’ while the Hornsey Journal opted for a more upbeat approach, revealing how clothes and toys had been donated to those left homeless by the riots. The Ham and High newspaper also took an upbeat tones, focusing on the hard work of those trying to clean the area after the riots. Perhaps the most surreal was the Romford Post, which reported how would-be looters couldn’t work out how to smash a Debenham’s window, so gave up.

Further afield, the Banbury Guardian reported on a ‘night of tension’, while the Basingstoke Gazette recounted a couple’s ‘riot hell’ in London. For the Dartford Messenger, the story was that riot police were on patrol at the Bluewater shopping centre. The Haverhill Echo in Suffolk led on how police were being sent to London, while the Kentish Express got a local line after local teens were arrested for trying to stir up a riot. 

The impact of the riots made front pages of weeklies further afield too. In Miltion Keynes, The Citizen’s front made the point that just 0.02% of the area’s population had been involved in planning trouble, trying to bring a bit of perspective to what was going on. In Rugby, the Advertiser had stories from commuters who experienced violence in London or Birmingham. In Worthing, the Herald told how the clean-up of some areas of London had been orchestrated from a bedroom in its area.

Weekly newspapers in Manchester, too, reflected on the violence. The Middleton Guardian reported on violence in its area, something which hadn’t troubled the national agenda to date. The South Manchester Reporter had details of one of th first yobs to be jailed, while the Salford Advertiser adopted a positive tone with talk of a fightback after the ramapage.

With limited levels of violence last night, daily newspapers in the towns and cities worst affected turned their attention to the fallout of the riots. The Nottingham Evening Post led on an 11-year-old girl arrested over the riots, while the Western Daily Press called violence the city’s ‘night of shame’ while the Bristol Evening Post opted for a Shame on them.’

CCTV images dominated several papers, including the Liverpool ECHO and the Leicester Mercury, the Cambridge News and the Gloucester Citizen. The Coventry Telegraph led on problems in its city, something which also failed to register on the national radar.  The Birmingham Mail used the quotes from a father of one of three men killed on Monday night to lead its front page – urging people not to seek revenge for the death.  The Liverpool Daily Post used headshots from key city figures to talk up a fightback.

The troubles might not have reached Cardiff, but the South Wales Echo set out to find why – and the conclusion was that the presence of youth workers on the streets helped calm things down. In Burton, also not troubled by much violence, the Mail hit out at social media for spreading rumours.

So which paper had the best front page? Of course, it’ll always be subjective, but I’m plumping for the Manchester Evening News today:

Of course, as I’m not a designer, my opinion doesn’t count for much but it’s a brilliant front page in my opinion. It also shows the role newspapers have to play in demonstrating justice being done. Greater Manchester Police deserve credit here for ensuring as many mugshots of those in court are released as possible. Other forces, such as West Midlands Police, aren’t doing this – and hindering the ability to show justice being done as a result.

Here is the gallery of all of the front pages for today I could find. As I mentioned yesterday, to get into the gallery, a front page has to be dominated by riot coverage:

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