Every week, millions of people rely on their local newspapers and websites to keep them informed of what is happening in their area. When seen together, they can paint a picture of life in the UK in a way no other collection of stories can. Life is local – and this is a look at the front pages which stood out over the last seven days
Five days ago the South Wales Argus reported on how Marjorie Ovens would soon turn 100 but had no family – and expected not to get any birthday cards either.
The Argus had a simple request of its readers: Could you send Marjorie a card? The answer, from hundreds, was ‘yes.’ Five days later and this was a front page to make even the most cynical of journos smile:
The real stories of local people, carefully told, is what the regional press is surely all about. And it wasn’t just the Argus demonstrating that this week.
Several regional newspapers led their Wednesday editions with coverage of the Tunisia terror attack inquests. The verdict, that they were unlawfully killed, came as no surprise, and for the families, the details of the cowardice of those who were meant to look after their loved ones was not a shock either, even if it was for the rest of us.
Beyond the global headlines lie many local stories, sensitively told by several regional papers:
As much a tradition in newsrooms as watching Home Alone, eating far too much and falling out of Monopoly all are at home (or is that just my house), the Christmas Eve front page is something planned in advance by most newsrooms and fought for by journalists in many too.
With Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, many regional Press titles (in my opinion) produced some of their most compelling front pages of the year, combining strong stories which carried a certain festive spirit alongside promos for other features in the often-larger weekend editions.
Of course, breaking news will always overtake even the most carefully-planned Christmas Eve front page, and you can see that happening in a few below.
And then there’s the Wolverhampton Express and Star which certainly ensured it was likely to be a talking point over Christmas Turkey in many Black Country homes on Christmas Day with its poll suggesting most people in the region regretted the vote for Brexit:
A front page to get the newsdesk phones ringing on Christmas Eve if ever there was one. “What it is, is….”
Anyway, here are the front pages I could find…
Earlier, I shared a collection of regional press front pages from the day after the Brexit vote became known.
I think they showed the relevance of regional print titles to readers, running alongside the live news services and engaging content provided by those titles’ digital operations.
In fact, I suspect many of the regional front pages from Saturday, June 25 were influenced by what newsrooms could see was resonating online, and then applying that knowledge to crafting some of the most important front pages of the year.
Below – in time-honoured online listicle form! – are 15 of the front pages that stood out for me, and why:
Front pages around the world were cleared as news of the terror attacks in Paris broke. For many regional newsrooms, it was too late to get the story into Saturday’s papers as they had already gone to press. I’ll cover off how regional papers can serve their readers online when an international story breaks in a later post.
But there were a handful of titles who were still ahead of deadline, or able to call their titles back off the presses, to deliver overnight reports on one of the worst attacks on the public in recent times.
Sunday’s regional papers also, generally, led with events in Paris, with Sunday Life the only one to opt for a splash headline in French, while the Sunday edition of the Western Morning News also carried a headline written in French as its second lead.
I’ve gathered those I could find here, not as a beauty parade of any sort, but to simply record some very powerful front pages. If your title isn’t here but should be, feel free to get in contact.
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.
Strange as it may sound, I’m increasingly thinking that perhaps the most powerful tool in a newspaper’s push into digital is actually the printed front page.
A number of things have led me to this conclusion, but I really got thinking about this while listening to Five Live on Tuesday morning. There was a debate involving David Clegg, political editor of the Daily Record, over whether Westminster’s leaders were going to keep to ‘the vow’ over more devolved powers to Scotland.
Criminals contacting their local newspaper to complain about accuracy of articles are the stuff of legend in newsrooms around the country.
In many cases, they might be on the wrong side of the law, but how they come across in the newspaper is very important.
In the case of on-the-run burglar Darrell Burbeary, the complaint centred around what the police were saying about him.
So cross was he about what the police put in an appeal which was published in the Sheffield Star, that he wrote to the Star: