Newspapers

Further proof that a long memory is an essential asset for any successful newsroom

oysten

Last summer, while most football fans could enjoy a brief period of hope that this season might be the season their team does something special, Blackpool FC supporters weren’t even allowed that.

With barely enough players to form a first XI at the start of pre-season, the giddy heights of the Premier League just a couple of years previously seemed light years away. It’s worth remembering that during their stint in the top-flight, they found themselves right at the heart of the January transfer window as clubs battled to sign star player Charlie Adam (not Austin, as I wrote earlier). And they so nearly stayed up, too.

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Local media election diary: Side profiles, scary cartoons, genteel insults and playing with Periscope

Spin doctors spend a lot of money, and political parties waste a lot of money, trying to perfect an image for their leaders which doesn’t make people recoil in horror.

So I imagine this front page of the Oxford Mail went down really well with the news fixers of Westminster:

oxford mail scary

According to the Mail:

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The power of digital journalism: The appeal for information solved in just 30 minutes

Here’s a story to warm the cockles of any journalist worried that digital journalism means losing many of the things we hold dear as regional journalists.

Shortly after lunchtime on Thursday, the Birmingham Mail published an appeal from National Express, which runs the buses across Birmingham, for information about a man wanted in connection with an assault which left a ticket inspector unconscious.

Using a variety of tools available to the newsroom, not least Facebook and Twitter, the Birmingham Mail got the appeal out to a wide audience very quickly:

cctv2
What happened next was quite remarkable – and shows the strength of reaction regional news brands can enjoy in a digital world.

Within 30 minutes, according to the Mail, National Express knew the name of the man they wanted to speak to – and hundreds of people rang in with information.

Of course, the Mail won’t have been the only outlet publishing the appeal, and the fact the CCTV quality is so sharp will have helped massively.

National Express were quick to follow up with the Mail and others, thanking the public for their quick response.

perry

And it’s the speed of the response which journalists worried about what digital journalism means for local journalism should take heart from.

Done well, with the right focus on building an audience and understanding what that audience wants – including the audience’s desire to make a difference – the tools which comes with digital platforms have the power to make our local journalism a more potent force than ever before.

As I discussed in my blog post on Friday, building a loyal digital audience make newsrooms more powerful than they’ve been in a long time – able to start and win campaigns at a stroke, hold those in power to account more effectively than ever and make a difference when it really matters within minutes.

For those who fear digital journalism is underpinned by clickbait articles ‘which aren’t real journalism,’ here’s the proof that nothing could be further from the truth.

The day a newsroom showed a strong opinion and an understanding of social media can carry just as much weight as a campaigning front page

Until today, it could have been argued that a newspaper’s most powerful tool when seeking to make a point which grabbed attention was the the printed front page. Indeed, I suggested as much last October.

And while it will remain a powerful weapon for newsrooms to deploy when they stand up and fight for their readers, the Birmingham Mail did something rather remarkable today.

It’s best summed up in this tweet from the Press Association:

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A front page which combines Christmas with a drugs bust to create something rather special…

greenwichnewsshopper

When I was putting together the gallery of front pages celebrating the art of the Christmas special, I focused on the positive.

But the front page above, from the Greenwich News Shopper, is perhaps of my favourites. First off, it makes great use of a pun based on Jingle Bells which actually rhymes, as opposed to the used-far-too-often Jingle Tills, which doesn’t, and which also doesn’t make sense.

The Christmas hats on the crooks are a treat as well, but it’s the substance of the story which makes it a winner for me.

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A plucking good Christmas story

 

You don’t get many chances in journalism to have a front page which includes the sentence: “Don’t let them gobble our George” so well done to the Tivy-Side Advertiser in Wales for making the most of the sort of story which will always flap its way on to the front page at Christmas…the perfect christmas story

If there’s one idea every editor should nick and copy next year, it’s this one from the Birmingham Post…

The old Odeon cinema in Birmingham

Late last year, the Birmingham Post came up with what I think is one of the cleverest features to be invented by a local news brand in a long time.

‘Hidden Spaces’ was a photographic project which showed people hidden corners of Birmingham, arranging access to places which were off-limits to the public.

It was produced as two print supplements, shared on its app as a special edition, and turned into a section on the Birmingham Post website too.

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How Black Friday was reported by the regional press

So, how was Black Friday for you?

By my reckoning, last year was the first year Black Friday was bothered with by a significant number of big stores in the UK, mirroring the traditional sales frenzy seen in America on the day after Thanksgiving.

But yesterday was the first time it became properly newsworthy – so mark this special occasion – lets face it, it’s going to be in news diaries everywhere from now on – here’s how the regional press is covering it.

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The Scottish Referendum: 10 lessons for journalism

Scotland voted no….

The Scottish referendum will live long in the memory of the journalists who covered it. But as the dust settles and the devolution negotiations kick on, I’ve pulled together a list of things the referendum can teach us about political journalism and where it’s heading….

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