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Journalism News Digest: The things we do for stories

It’s been a funny old week here at HoldtheFrontPage. One weekly newspaper reporter launched a side-career as a stand-up comic. Another went swimming with sea lions. And a third decided that smashing hard-boiled eggs against his forehead would make an interesting new twist on Russian roulette.

The things we do for a story, eh?

But amid all this apparent silly season frivolity, there were some big industry-wide developments. It was announced that Sir Christopher Meyer would be stepping down as chairman of the PCC after six years in March.

And Andy Hart stood down rather more abruptly as MD of Associated Northcliffe Digital, leaving on Tuesday “with immediate effect” ahead of a forthcoming organisational restructure.

The ten-month long pay dispute at Newsquest in York came to an end with journalists settling for a 3pc pay rise.

Newsquest also began a revamp of its websites, as did the Birmingham-based Sunday Mercury which revealed its reporters would now be breaking stories online throughout the week rather than waiting for the Saturday print deadline.

On the campaigning front, the County Derry Post raised £60,000 from readers to help a critically-ill baby, while Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson prepared to drive a bus to 10 Downing Street to highlight its bid to halt Post Office closures.

And reporters on the Norwich Evening News were keen as mustard to try to preserve the legacy of Colman’s famous condiment in their city.

Perhaps the week’s most heartwarming tale of all though was the one about the weekly paper which reunited a bride with her long-lost sister 48 hours before her wedding.

Hannah Andrews contacted Hampshire Chronicle chief reporter Warwick Payne and asked him to write an article urging her sister Emma to get in touch. The story had a happy ending, as Emma called her 48 hours before the ceremony.

Said Warwick: “It is jobs like this one that really bring home that journalism isn’t just about bad news, and that newspapers can bring people together, and play a positive part in the community.”

It’s nice to know we’re not such a bunch of cynics after all.