Saturday Social: A week in which we learnt much about what people want from local news


It’s been one of those weeks when it’s hard to remember what was making the news prior to the one big thing which made every stop, stare and wonder ‘why’. This feature on the blog was set up with the intention of digging around into what people share and engage with from local media.

The theory – I guess a bit like The Guardian’s Northerner newsletter in its heyday – was that the best reflection of real-life UK comes from the regional press, and by looking at what was most likely to be engaged with on social media from the regional press, you can get a sense of what local people are most likely thinking about.

And, as I blogged on Thursday (I think), if looking at engagement with social media posts this week teaches us anything about local journalism, it’s that when a ‘national’ news story breaks, local journalists are relied upon by many to share reliable information.

Take, for example this post from the Scotsman on Wednesday afternoon, which was one of the regional Press Facebook posts to achieve the most interactions with readers:


For two newsrooms at least, the actions of MP Tobias Ellwood were particularly local:

In other parts of the country, it was how local areas reacted to the news of what had happened in Westminster which resonated most with readers, as seen here in Sunderland:

And in Blackpool:

And Belfast:

And across the country, it soon became clear that an event of national importance can have very local implications:

But it’s perhaps this post from the Liverpool Echo which summed up (for me) why local reaction to a national news event is so important:

If engaging with social media teaches journalists anything, it’s that people often want to share stories which involve a strong human reaction. Take, for example, this MEN story of a woman who has woken up from a coma:

Or this report by the MEN of Rio Ferdinand’s documentary about how he and his family have coped with life since the death of his wife:

While this tribute, filmed by the Sheffield Star at Sheffield United, is very powerful:

In several towns and cities the big social news story was the celebrities being spotted out and about.

While perhaps we should file this week’s weather under the ‘a week is a long time in…’ box:

And finally this week, thanks to the Norwich Evening News for sharing this:



If you read just one comment thread on Facebook this week, make it that one!


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