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'Northern Eco' stunt draws attention to World Environment Day

The Northern Echo went green yesterday – and changed its title to The Northern Eco – for World Environment Day.

The Darlington daily changed colour for the first time in its 138-year-old history by publishing on green newsprint to raise awareness about environmental issues.

The special edition contained environmental news, features and tips on what can be done to reduce carbon emissions and save energy.

A 52-page supplement, sponsored by the Association of North-East Councils, examines what north-east local authorities and private sector companies are doing to become more environmentally-friendly. It also features an article by Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment.

There is a photographic competition for schools to win trees for their local environment as well as free gardening books and packets of seeds for every reader.

Guest editor for the day was 15-year-old Jack White who is serving as the Government’s “Climate Change Champion” for the north-east. As well as taking part in the day’s news conferences and writing an article about his role, Jack also wrote the editorial comment.

The paper splashed on the Government’s announcement about plans for 11 offshore wind farms, the biggest being off the north-east coast, which will not only make a huge contribution to energy needs but create thousands of jobs.

Editor Peter Barron said: “We wanted to make a bold statement to make readers think about what they as individuals can do to make a difference to the environment. And because it’s about our future, we wanted to give young people a strong voice, which is why Jack was brought in as guest editor.

“The Government’s announcement on wind farms was extremely timely. It was a story we’d have splashed on irrespective of whether we’d gone green but it fitted in perfectly with the theme of the day.

“Going green isn’t something I’d do every day, but as a one-off initiative to make people sit up and take notice, I think it’s been very worthwhile and the reaction has been very positive.”


Andrew Smith (06/06/2008 11:36:59)
Well done, Northern Eco! Inspired idea and all credit to you for showing local newspapers can take a leading role in promoting environmental issues. Keep up the good work.