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Regional press scores new success

A celebration of the newspaper industry is being hailed a record year for raising the profile of the regional press.

Early figures from the Newspaper Society show that participation in Local Newspaper Week increased this year by more than 25 per cent, with hundreds of morning, evening and weekly publications taking part.

They produced special features, launched events and ran competitions and reader offers.

Syndicated messages of support from The Queen and celebrities such as sports pundit Gary Lineker appeared in many papers, as well as news of the Prince’s Trust Local Reporting Award, which rewards stories about positive news happening in the community.

Many newspapers went out into their communities “in person” as well as in print, with several local achievement awards or fundraising activities run during the week.

Others looked back at campaigns that had changed the lives of readers or wrote columns to explain the important role of the local press.

The events and features covered included the Cumbrian News & Star holding its Race for Life in aid of cancer research, and the Folkestone Herald/Dover Express, which launched a Young Writer of the Year competition.

In Newcastle, the Chronicle & Journal parked its Press Express bus in the market place to ask readers what they wanted from their local paper. In other regions publishing centres opened their doors to schools or paid a visit to the classrooms themselves.

The Gazette & Herald group ran a competition for schools and published a feature on the children at work on their newspaper.

The Peak Times and other titles ran a competition to win “an experience in local newspaper journalism” in their own offices.

The Mid Devon Advertiser received a letter from a young reader who said that Local Newspaper Week had inspired her to pursue a career in journalism.

Special features included an overview of the entire newspaper publishing operation and the local faces behind it, a day in the life of a reporter, how to become a journalist and the history of the newspaper.

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph published a photography feature Life Through the Lens and the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph included a feature on the paper’s relationship with the emergency services.

The Guernsey Press & Star produced a 20-page supplement about the newspaper, supported throughout by local advertisers.

Many newspapers, including the Peterborough Evening Telegraph and the Oldham Chronicle, looked at the role of the newspaper sales department.

The Bournemouth Daily Echo showed the life cycle of a news story culminating in deliveries to newsagents, news stands and home deliveries.

The Gloucestershire Echo interviewed the newspaper sales manager, the Kettering Evening Telegraph featured one of their most dedicated delivery boys and the Newbury Weekly News and Camden Chronicle interviewed their newsagents.

Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
email pastill@nep.co.uk

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©NEP 2002