Hillsborough: Front pages which make you proud to be a regional journalist

To be in Liverpool yesterday was to witness something remarkable. The most outrageous wrong righted after 23 years. The truth revealed, but justice still to be done. Proof that if you believe in what you’re doing, you should keep fighting, even when the whole world appears to be against you, determined to keep secrets under wraps.

Seeing people standing around TV screens in cafes which are normally just background noise, nodding, wiping tears from their eyes as David Cameron issued a national apology. Seeing a city stop for two minutes at 3.06pm to remember the 96 who died.

I was lucky enough to work in the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post newsroom for three years, and still work closely with the digital team there. There was never any doubt that the newsroom would do a brilliant job in print and online – covering the latest chapter in arguably the biggest news story to ever involve the city. And they did.

I’ve seen several emails and messages from people thanking the Echo for its coverage of the story as it unfolded via a liveblog, and for the in-depth coverage which continued late into the evening. Yesterday was one of those days which makes you proud to be a regional journalist.

A lot has been written about the front page of The Sun today – what else could the paper have done? Roy Greenslade has blogged about how the national newspapers covered the report. (As an aside, I’d urge everyone to read this piece by the Mirror’s Brian Reade – not because I work for Trinity Mirror but because it is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever read).

As Ed Miliband reminded us yesterday, it is the Liverpool ECHO which has stood by fans since 1989. Starting off with the ECHO, here is how the regional press covered the biggest police cover up of all time:

Liverpool Echo first edition – Wednesday, September 12

The ECHO’s overnight edition included an exclusive interview with the Bishop of Liverpool on leading the inquiry. The later edition was held back until 5pm to enable full coverage of the inquiry findings:

Liverpool Echo 5pm edition

Today, Hillsborough remained on the front page of the ECHO, reflecting the prevailing opinion that the truth had been revealed, now justice must be served:

Liverpool Echo Thursday front page

The Liverpool Post – now published on Thursdays, used an image from the vigil held on Wednesday evening to lead its front page:

Liverpool Post

It was, of course, also of huge significance in Sheffield, where The Star focused on the man behind the cover up:

It was also on the front page of the weekly Sheffield Telegraph:

I also found two weekly newspapers which splashed on the consequences of the tragedy. Both the Chester Chronicle and Crosby Herald had local people to their area involved in the tragedy:

The report also dominated front pages elsewhere in the UK this morning – including the Belfast News Letter, Daily Record (not strictly a regional, I know) Northern Echo (read editor Peter Baron’s blog on choosing a front page here) and the Western Mail:

And, as has been noted on Hold the Front Page, the initial findings were out in time for the Shropshire Star and Wolverhampton Express and Star on Wednesday – both papers retain early afternoon print slots:

It was also front page news in the Daily Post on Wednesday, ahead of the report’s publication – telling the powerful hopes of one family still mourning:

3 comments

  1. It never feels entirely comfortable that journalists should be ‘congratulated’ in relation to such tragedies but the Liverpool Echo does deserve to be commended for its work displayed here, and over the past 23 years.
    Personally I thought the Thursday, Sept 13 Liverpool Echo front page was the strongest, but I think using the picture from the vigil at St George’s Hall full length would have looked better visually. Perhaps the Echo wanted to make a point by running the ‘Now for justice’ splash underneath it?
    Notice that Thursday’s Daily Mail had a similar idea to the Echo’s first edition front page from a day earlier. The 5pm Echo was very much a traditional evening newspaper, if not in design, in the way it literally blasted the key facts at readers, though I’m sure this story didn’t have to be sold to readers in Merseyside. I’m sure buying the Echo would have seemed like the natural and necessary thing to do.
    I was slightly disappointed with the Liverpool Daily Post as its front page didn’t stand out as having any thing particularly different from the nationals and other regionals. Perhaps a personal account from a reporter who originally covered the tragedy for the Post, or who attended the match (unless they’ve all been made redundant?) would have been better suited to what I would expect to be a more reflective approach from a serious weekly.
    I would also point out the Welsh Daily Post front page ‘Name those responsible for killing my John’ should have been included with the Liverpool/Sheffield fronts as north Wales, especially the north east, is very much the catchment area for supporting Liverpool.
    The Thurs Sept 13 Sheffield Star was also a very impressive, hard hitting front page, leading on probably the strongest angle locally.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I agree on your point about congratulating journalists for covering a tragedy but hopefully I have struck a balance which explains why I think the coverage makes me proud to be a regional journalist without becoming too self indulgent. (I also feel the same when journalists praise themselves on Twitter for breaking an ‘exclusive’ which involves tragedy).

      Yes, the Daily Mail front page was very similar to the Echo splash the day before. I notice the credit on the Mail front is to the Echo – shame they didn’t see fit to use the whole Echo front page inside.

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