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Mail ripped out front page to carry Shannon news in special late edition

The Birmingham Mail was one of only a handful of regional dailies which was able to carry the news that Shannon Matthews had been found alive.

Editor Steve Dyson took the decision to print an extra 1,500 copies – even though the story wasn’t local to the readership.

The news came through just after 2pm, after usual ‘final’ deadlines with the normal Birmingham Mail print order already being delivered by vans.

A quick call was made to the presses where staff confirmed that the plates were still in place and a final edition could be produced. A second call to newspaper sales confirmed that there would be enough people to distribute.

Chief reporter Emma Cullwick pieced together the emerging story from the agency wires and, with a quick tweak from news editor Jim Levack, it was over to page planners.

Steve said: “Splash sub Russ Youll cleared the entire front page, chief sub Gary Denning rejigging stories inside in preparation.

“The story was laid out in minutes, including breaking updates as the live details changed twice in five minutes. Where she was found changed. A man arrested.

“By 3pm, the completed new front and inside pages were over at The Fort [Dunlop], and vans were waiting with idling engines as the papers rolled off the press.”

Some 1,500 copies were produced for distribution to street vendors, city centre sales outlets and eight supermarkets across the city.