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Inconclusive result poses headache for editors

Tight overnight deadlines coupled with the inconclusive result of yesterday’s General Election posed a headache for regional press editors today.

With many seats not declaring until well after 4am, some titles faced what one editor described as a “scramble” to get their local results in.

But reporting and production teams pulled out the stops to bring readers the latest election news from their areas.

Here’s our round-up of election coverage from a selection of regional titles across the UK.

  • The Hull Daily Mail and Grimsby Telegraph went with identical front pages in what Northcliffe North-East regional editor John Meehan described as a “one-off.”

    Both titles are printed in Derby and both had deadlines in the early hours – Hull at 1.15am and Grimsby at 2am.

    With the election outcome very uncertain at that stage, the Mail decided to go with a picture of David Cameron and his pregnant wife Samantha after they voted under a ‘Cameron Expects’ headline.

    With just 45 minutes between the two titles’ deadlines and still only a handful of constituencies declared by 2am, they decided to go with the same front page for the Telegraph.

    Said John: “This will probably be a total one-off. I can’t imagine when it will happen again in the foreseeable future – perhaps only if there’s another election following a hung Parliament.

    “There’s only one area where the Hull Daily Mail and Grimsby Telegraph both circulate, which is Barton at the south end of the Humber Bridge. People there might find themselves doing a bit of a double-take today.”

    The regional production hub in Hull also produced a 24-page election special supplement, printed at 6.30am for insertion into copies of the Scunthorpe Telegraph and Lincolnshire Echo, which had to go to press before midnight and so missed most of the election news.

    Scunthorpe Telegraph editor Mel Cook said: “It was good to be able to produce a comprehensive election service including all the local results and the national picture up to breakfast time for inclusion into a significant proportion of copies of the Telegraph.”

  • The Oxford Mail put out a special 5am edition covering results from its six constituencies in Oxfordshire, which include Tory leader David Cameron’s Witney seat.

    The first count wasn’t declared until 3am leaving just 60 minutes to turn around the pages with pictures transmitted from the counts and graphics including voting figures and turn-out that were created by editorial artist Mel Costello.

    The team, lead by editor Simon O’Neill, also managed to do a last minute page change when the Tories snatched a key Lib Dem seat in Oxford West

    Head of content Jason Collie managed on-line coverage, including Tweets, with results, results snaps and pictures uploaded to a dedicated election sub-site.

  • The Northampton Chronicle and Echo managed to get all its local results in – but only just.

    Editor David Summers said: “The paper was printed with a 5am deadline and every result came through after 4.30am! There with a minute to spare. The team did an absolutely fantastic job producing the special edition pages and our online coverage, they should be very proud to turn it around do quickly.”

  • The Express and Star published 33 pages of election coverage for its 6am edition and will continue to update the election story as it unfolds today.

    Assistant editor Mark Drew said: “It has been a very busy evening but our team really pulled together to bring out a first class newspaper. We are the only paper on the stands with updated news and results as the General Election story develops.”

  • The Birmimgham Mail faced a ‘scramble’ to get its results in the paper as it approached its early-morning deadline.

    Editor David Brookes said: “It was a brilliant effort by my team. Many of the major West Midland results were declared in the last hour but we somehow managed to scramble them in. The paper looks great.”

    The digital team in Birmingham also worked through the night running a live blog reporting on local and national news and results.

    There were 40 videos filmed by reporters at the counts which were streamed live to the blog. Reporters also used Twitter to update the region as events unfolded.

  • The Derby Telegraph managed to get all but one of its local results in the paper – missing out only because of a recount – and was on the presses just after 5am.

    Editor Steve Hall said: “The Telegraph was determined to carry comprehensive coverage of the 13 constituencies within its area and managed to achieve exactly that. We were only beaten by a second planned recount in Amber Valley, which won’t now take place until this afternoon.”

  • The Shropshire Star produced 16 pages of national results plus eight pages looking in depth at local constituencies.

    Assistant editor Carl Jones said: “Our teams worked through the night on a breakfast special which included national results, plus a comprehensive look at all of our local constituencies. We also had an online team providing an interactive web commentary, and broadcast live video from the Telford counts.”

  • Other election-day front pages included these from the Liverpool Daily Post, Worcester News, The Journal in Newcastle, the Evening Telegraph in Dundee, the Shields Gazette and Dorset Echo:


    newspaper reader (07/05/2010 11:15:00)
    Some tremendous efforts from the regional media showing there’s still a lot of talent out there! I reckon the laurels go to the Birmingham Mail for the most impact together with getting the great line about people unable to vote on there.

    Oh god, not the Tories! (07/05/2010 11:20:31)
    Have to agree that the Birmingham Mail front is very attention grabbing. I like the Liverpool Daily Post one too though.

    davy gravy (07/05/2010 11:44:03)
    of course, the switch to overnight printing for many former Evening papers to save money means they cannot make the most of the extra sales they would have expected to get on an historic day such as this. There will be a lot of frustrated editors out there…..

    All Subbed Out (07/05/20
    10 12:01:13)
    Fair play, Davy Gravy, but some of the smaller regional ex-evenings actually can be flexible on rare occasions such as this and where they still have local printing can deliver a full local service and a fair stab at the national background, such as the Worcester News above with all the local results from its circulation area plus, it would appear, a fair sprinkling of the national background too. Even in the days of a proper evening paper in Birmingham, I remember, the full general and council election results from contests like this year’s were still not complete by mid-afternoon.

    JustifiedPessamism (07/05/2010 16:18:21)
    Great efforts all round which show regional newspapers at their very best. I agree with all subbed out on this – overnight printing isn’t so much of a factor here as there’s a degree of flexibility for special editions etc.
    On another note, flanked as it is by stand out, impact front pages, perhaps its about time the Wolverhampton Express and Star got a bit of a modern redesign??!

    Johnston Press Teaboy (10/05/2010 16:53:09)
    Kind of shows managing directors (who have never worked in a newsroom) what real journalism is – if they bothered to look. Not some 20p off Greggs voucher or a crummy fish and chips deal.