Social: How the bravery of readers can stun journalists


Every week, millions – yes, millions – of people get news and information from the local Press via social media. And that makes the local Press every bit as important to local life as it ever was. But what were the stories that really got people talking? Using various data tools, this list looks at the stories which really captured people’s attention over the past seven days, thanks to the hard work of those working in the regional press

Sometimes, stories stun newsrooms. Sometimes, the bravery of readers leaves journalists silent. This week, the Birmingham Mail reported on a woman whose actions can only be described as incredibly brave.

The Mail reported:

Shocking CCTV has been released showing the moment a drunken thug crippled his girlfriend by repeatedly throwing her down the stairs at his Birmingham home.

The footage has been released by police on the request of the victim – who wants people to she what she endured. She hopes that it might encourage other victims of domestic violence to break the cycle of abuse.

Her attacker is now behind bars for 10 years – and his victim’s hoped is that the journey this video is making on social media will given other women the confidence to speak out too.

In Wales this week, WalesOnline shared a story about a remarkably moving tribute to Welsh international rugby player Elli Norkett, 20, who died in a car crash last week.

At the match she was due to be playing at, her friends dropped petals on to her shirt:

A tribute of a very different sort was reported by the Coventry Telegraph this week, when it shared news of the funeral of a teenager, complete with tribute from Stormzy:

While in Plymouth,  here’s a story about tributes to a woman everyone in Plymouth knew because she’d been a hostess at McDonald’s for as long as the restaurant had been opened:

As mentioned last week, police appeals often get a lot of traction on social media because people want to help. They could well have their work cut out based on this case reported by the Derbyshire Times:

Stories about things which might happen in the future were often denied top billing in print because they were ‘could’ rather than ‘would’ stories. Could, however, carries a lot of weight with readers especially when it’s something they really want to happen.

In Fife, the Free Press shared the excitement of readers about the prospect of a new cinema opening:

In Hull, the Daily Mail raised eyebrows with news that a train service which could get to Leeds in 13 minutes was on the cards:

While perhaps the planning story of the year (for parents at least) was news of the UK’s answer to Disneyland potentially coming to Essex:

Perhaps the biggest lesson newsrooms can take from social media is that news doesn’t have to be bad to get an audience. Indeed, if listening to social media reaction has taught us anything, it’s that people are just as likely to respond to good news as they are the not so good.

And there’s so much to love about this story from the Dorset Echo:

And another example, this story from the Northumberland Gazette celebrating the fact several towns in their county have been named among the best places to live in the UK.

And that sense of pride was very much in evidence in Cornwall this week as the county celebrated St Piran’s Day. CornwallLive, judging by the response here, hit the nail on the head:

Sheffield was one of several cities reporting rises in bus fares this week. Proof, if it were needed, that what has always worked for the regional press can work just as well online, comes from the fact this Facebook post was very popular – nostalgia about t’buses:


And finally this week, while most people were busy picking their jaws up off the flaw as Barcelona staged the ultimate comeback in the Champions League, regional journalists were reaching for the archives to revisit more local comebacks. A little personal bias might have entered this post at this point with this selection, but hats off to the Lancashire Evening Post for reminding PNE fans of this one:

Seen a great social story worth sharing here? Find me on Twitter @davidhiggerson or on Facebook her


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