How to report Brexit locally: 15 very different front pages (in my opinion)

brexit newcastle2

Earlier, I shared a collection of regional press front pages from the day after the Brexit vote became known.

I think they showed the relevance of regional print titles to readers, running alongside the live news services and engaging content provided by those titles’ digital operations.

In fact, I suspect many of the regional front pages from Saturday, June 25 were influenced by what newsrooms could see was resonating online, and then applying that knowledge to crafting some of the most important front pages of the year.

Below – in time-honoured online listicle form! – are 15 of the front pages that stood out for me, and why:

1. Western Daily Press

A simple, but effective design which stands out on the newsstands for a Saturday. It tells the story in the headline and makes it clear there’s plenty of analysis behind the summary sentence inside.

brexit wdp1. 2. Daily Echo

Bournemouth’s daily newspaper regularly turns over its front page to wipeout designs and graphics to make its point on a big story, and did so again with a front anchored by a simple, but very effective, graph which told the local story of national events.

Brexit bournemouth

3. Birmingham Mail

Birmingham was one of the surprise votes of the night, just nudging into Brexit territory when many pundits had expected the opposite. The Mail was one of a number of titles to have the option of an on-day edition on the Friday, so for the Mail Saturday was about taking the story forward. It chose the ‘call for unity’ line from the council, very important in such a diverse city where there was significant fear of a rise in hate crime by people who would see Brexit as an endorsement of their hate-filled views.

Brexit Birmingham

3. Birmingham Mail

Birmingham was one of the surprise votes of the night, just nudging into Brexit territory when many pundits had expected the opposite. The Mail was one of a number of titles to have the option of an on-day edition on the Friday, so for the Mail Saturday was about taking the story forward. It chose the ‘call for unity’ line from the council, very important in such a diverse city where there was significant fear of a rise in hate crime by people who would see Brexit as an endorsement of their hate-filled views.

Brexit aberdeen

4. Aberdeen Evening Express

For Scottish papers, the challenge of taking Brexit coverage forward was made harder by the fact so much of the previous day’s Brexit fallout had been focused on Scotland, and the constitutional crisis which could follow – the country had overall voted ‘in’ while the rest of the UK had, overall, not. The Evening Express tapped into a sentiment I think many people were feeling, and as such took the story away from politicians and back towards normal readers.

brexit sunderland

5. Sunderland Echo

A very fortunate picture summed up the situation in Sunderland very well. Long before the New York Times prompted a row with its rather stereotypical coverage of Sunderland, the Echo was balancing the reaction of its city to Brexit against the potential economic reality of what Brexit could mean for one of the more deprived parts of the country.

brexit sentinel6. Stoke Sentinel

Stoke was another part of the country which showed very strong pro-Brexit credentials. The Sentinel was the only regional newspaper I’ve seen for a long time to ditch a headline altogether in favour of a strong leader column on the front page. I’m a big fan of the belief that views of newspapers should be used sparingly and only when a subject matter a) demands a view from us and b) we’re prepared to offer a definite view which adds to the conversation of the issue. The Sentinel’s front page treatment is a great example of getting it spot on.

Brexit Wales

7. Daily Post

 

This front from the Daily Post in North Wales closes in quickly on perhaps the biggest question of all in North Wales, focusing superbly on the possible local economic impact. On the news stands, it was surely asking the question many readers were, and because it is a local paper, it will have been the only one in the shops of its part North Wales doing that.

Brexit EADT

8. East Anglian Daily Times

Picking up on the ‘offering answers’ theme, the EADT struck a similar tone to the Daily Post, by asking the global ‘what does it all mean’ question and then clearly signposting the different aspects it would be looking at inside. I also like the promotion of ‘statistics’ and ‘maps’ inside too.

Brexit derby

9. Derby Telegraph

I liked this front page because I think it summed up what a lot of people would have gone through on the day after the referendum. Wake up, hear the result, have an emotional reaction, and then start worrying – regardless of which way you had voted. It also captured the ‘international story with local repercussions’ theme very well.

Brexit Brighton

10. Brighton Argus

Brighton had perhaps the toughest task of all in the regional press – balancing a massively pro-EU main city against pro-Brexit areas all around (Bristol had similar too). After a day dominated by the victory of the Brexiteers, the Argus’s positive coverage of what Remain does next will have played well with many Brighton readers.

brexit newcastle2

11. The Journal, Newcastle

Newcastle was first mainland UK place to declare (I think) but the narrow majority for Remain in a city expected to be far more pro-European sent a signal of what was to come. The tale of the day is captured brilliantly here, blending the national and the local. The £1.5bn lost from NE businesses in one day line really stands out.

Brexit dubline

12. The Herald, Dublin

A bit of a cheat to include this one I guess, but it is a regional newspaper after all. It does also show how big a story Brexit was, and how the local impact isn’t just something UK newspapers could tap into.

Brexit cambridge

13. The Cambridge News

Cambridge was a bit like Brighton – a pro Remain island in a region out Brexiters. The News front page challenged readers to try and make the most of what happens next, emphasising the point that surely it’s in our gift to try and make the result work.

brexit leeds

14. The Yorkshire Evening Post

This one makes a really important point. Across the North, large numbers of people voted who don’t normally vote. We don’t know how they voted but the assumption is they voted to Leave. This front page from the YEP doesn’t go for a wipeout design treatment, and to some extent doesn’t look that different from many other days, but the strong headline will have resonated with many in the North who feel alienated from London.

brexit grimsby

15. Grimsby Telegraph

And finally to Grimsby where the Prime Minister’s big news of the previous day – standing down – came 24 hours before he was due to come to Cleethorpes to mark Armed Forces Day. For the Grimsby Telegraph, this was understandably the big story of the day.

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