Social: From nostalgia to nationalism, nothing will be the same again


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 social media also puts the reader in charge, with their reactions determining the popularity and relevance of what we do. Using various data tools, he’s a round-up of some of the stories which  made an impact this week:

Nostalgia, the joke in some newsrooms goes, isn’t as good as it used to be. Ho ho ho. On social media, however, it’s often the sort of content which generates the most traction amongst readers.

Looking through the most engaging posts on social media last week from the regional press, this footage from yesteryear proved a hit for the Yorkshire Post:

Online, nostalgia doesn’t have to be that, well, old. And I’m determined for personal reasons not to consider anything from the 1990s as old. The Yorkshire Evening Post’s video of a nightclub in Leeds from the 1990s to probably the nostalgic Ying to the YP’s nostalgic Yang above, but it was very popular all the same:

Maybe the Holy Grail on this front is combining nostalgia with sport. It certainly worked for the Hull Daily Mail:

While Yorkshire was tapping into ‘things aren’t the same as they used to be vibe’ on social, in Scotland, pro-independence daily The National was appearing amongst the most-shared Facebook posts after sharing its front pages during a week which may well define whether Scotland becomes very different in the future:

And this one on Friday was shared widely – it certainly packed a punch – and for me proved the enduring power of a newspaper front page to make a statement:

All of the above prove, perhaps, that readers have long memories. In Belfast, the Telegraph’s article about how the Icelandic economy recovered after the country imprisoned bankers and let banks go bust was one of the most shared articles of the week from the regional press.

Proof that regional newsrooms should continue to do national news in a world where anyone can get any news from anywhere? Maybe. Further proof perhaps of readers desire for a wider-than-local outlook on life comes from the Wolverhampton Express and Star, which posed the question: “Should Scotland have a second referendum?” – and it was one of its most-shared articles of the week.

Indeed, the independence debate has ramifications across the UK. In Wales, the referendum debate is followed particularly closely for obvious reasons, and Plaid leader Leanne Wood’s reaction to events in Scotland was one of WalesOnline’s most shared stories this week.

So often, social media provides the audience for stories which make us smile, and which celebrate good things happening. You may remember the heart-breaking story of the terminally-ill parents who died together holding hands at a hospital in Merseyside. The story came to national attention when the couple’s three children shared a very moving photo online. This week, the Liverpool Echo had a new story about the family, and it was good news: A fundraising page set up to raise enough money for the children to stay in the family home had reached its target:

Good news for PRs everywhere this week – sometimes your press releases have the potential to really drive an audience online. I don’t know whether the story of a Leeds shopping centre being named one of the best in the world arrived with the YEP as a press release or not, but we’ve all seen the ‘awards press release’ many a time.  In print, maybe it was a mid-book page lead at beat. On social, people clearly like sharing each other’s successes – or the successes of the places they like to visit. The YEP story was one of the most shared in the regional press last week.

Other ‘that we place we know is really good’ stories this week included the Sunday Times best places to live list, which prompted a slew of articles across the regional press. And judging by the shares and comments, it’s something which matters to people – and why wouldn’t it? They are places where people live, after all:

St Patrick’s Day was a big deal for the regional Press this week on social. From pictures of landmarks lit up in green through to guides of where to go for some local ‘craic’, it was hard to move for news on how to celebrate all things Irish on Friday. WalesOnline told the story of how the Welsh village where St Pat was born chooses to celebrate its big day – a great read which was widely shared

In Belfast, St Patrick’s Day can spell trouble in certain parts of town – and the decision to close off licences in certain parts of Belfast was one of the best-shared stories on Facebook for BelfastLive this week.

Finally, and sticking with an Irish theme, the Welsh victory over Ireland in the 6 Nations last week prompted outpourings of national pride across the principality – with this video of a train-full of passengers beginning a sing-song demonstrating how, pitched right, social media journalism has the ability to capture the mood of the moment just right:





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