What do we learn about regional journalism and its readers when we look at the stories most-shared on social media this week?
Journalists are often taught to avoid cliches at all costs, but every now and again, a cliche just happens to be the best form of words to describe what’s happening.
Take the story of Bradley Lowery, the brave little boy whose fight against neuroblastoma really has ‘touched the hearts of a nation.’ Rarely a week goes by when an update about the five-year-old, who has been taken to the heart of his local football club Sunderland in recent months, isn’t widely shared on social media.
In one sense, it’s a reminder of the ‘social’ side of social media. It can be a place of hateful trolls, of bullying and abuse, but it can also be a place where people come together to support others.
This week, the most popular regional press story was of Bradley running out as one of the England mascots in when England played Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday:
The response to a documentary made by former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand, who is raising his family as a single parent following the death of his wife last year, was instant on social media:
It was a brave programme to make, and makes for a powerful statement when the media reflects the reaction on social media.
Elsewhere, good deeds make for good news for local newsrooms as much as they ever did. In Dublin, local news site DublinLive shared the news that Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendon O’Carroll was donating a lot of money to the RNLI:
With special mention to the Daily Post for proving that, as far as social media promotion of stories is concerned, puns are alive, kicking and very useful:
Good deeds, of course, come in all shapes and sizes, and this one reported by WalesOnline is also pretty special:
Local heroes remain as important as ever:
In Chichester, it was good news following bad which dominated social media this week, as a dog stolen in a burglary was returned to its owner:
Good news, of course, comes in many shapes and forms. For any political reporter who has spent countless hours in planning committee meetings, stories like this popular one from East Anglia about the opening of a new cinema are proof that those hours listening to debates over Section 106s is appreciated by readers (sort of):
In these austere times, stories about fighting to save things are ten-a-penny – and rightly so. Increasingly, the ‘saved’ stories follow. This one from the Yorkshire Post was a little different.
While I’m sure some political comedians will find something poetic in this particular planning application story:
This week’s local media celebrity spots which went down well on social included:
And him again…
While, in court news, I suspect few will ever witness a defence statement like this again:
This week’s great buskers award goes to these guys in Coventry, famous for five minutes on social thanks to the Coventry Telegraph:
And finally, if you’re ever in need of a little magic to lift your reader numbers on social media, it’s good to see that Harry Potter never fails to deliver: