A gruesome murder story provided a hits boost for the Hinckley Times last week as it relaunched its website.
The body of a 27-year-old Asian man was found in his car behind an allotment in the town on the night of Sunday 7 September. He had been stabbed to death
Reporters Sam Dimmer and Ian Gallagher went straight to the scene on Monday morning to get first-hand reports from residents and provide up-to-the-minute web-first coverage on the all-new www.hinckleytimes.net.
Then as more details filtered in throughout the day, the duo returned with colleague Emma Ray’s video camera to film and report from the scene.
Emma, who works for sister paper the Nuneaton Tribune, then edited the video and uploaded it to YouTube where it has already received nearly 150 hits.
Photographer Lee Busby returned on deadline day to capture the scene from a nearby office’s first floor. There he secured another exclusive – a picture taken by a staff member of Mr Ashraf’s car before forensic teams removed it.
And the icing on the cake came when reporter Sam Thorne, acting on a tip-off from a family member, managed to speak to the teenager who found the body just ten minutes before final print deadline.
Editor Simon Holden quickly re-designed the front page to fit in the exclusive content.
He said: “This really couldn’t have been a better week to launch our new website.
“The murder has shocked the community and we have dedicated all available resources to making sure our coverage of it is unrivalled, both in print and video.
“We had a huge number of hits on the YouTube video before we’d even promoted it in print.
“We were already delighted with our coverage, but speaking to the person who found the body literally ten minutes before we went to print was the icing on the cake.”
Chief reporter Ian Gallagher added: “Trinity Mirror has grand plans for all their papers in the Midlands with reporters being trained to take photo, video and audio when they are out on jobs.
“This week we’ve showed we’re already ahead of the game in that respect!”
The 119-year-old Trinity-owned weekly, which claims to be the first paper outside London to use computers, was also one of the first regional papers to have a website.
The video from the scene can be viewed on YouTube.