Voting opened today in a public ballot to select the best local newspaper campaign of the past 12 months.
As part of Local Newspaper Week, the public are being asked to vote for the campaign that has made the biggest difference to people in their local communities.
Voting began today the winner will be announced as part of the Regional Press awards ceremony at London’s Lancaster Hotel next Friday.
The Newspaper Society has now published a list of the 30 campaigns in the running which can be seen below. To cast your vote, click here.
Contenders include the Southern Daily Echo which has been shortlisted for its Have a Heart campaign to save the cardiac unit at Southampton’s general hospital ,
Editor Ian Murray said: “When the people need their voice to be heard, it is to their local newspaper they almost always turn. Long may that continue.”
Neil Hodgkinson, editor of Hull Daily Mail which successfully campaigned for the city to be named UK City of Culture 2017, added: “Local and regional newspapers are a fundamental part of the communities they serve. They can give those who might not otherwise be heard a powerful voice and bring about real change.
“In the case of our campaign to have Hull named City of Culture for 2017, our mission was to champion a cause which will benefit our city immeasurably.”
The Manchester Evening News leapt into action when the Museum of Science and Industry was threatened with closure by its parent organisation the Science Museum in London.
Editor Rob Irvine said: “Within a matter of days more than 50,000 readers had signed an online petition prompting Government intervention and ending the threat of closure. This shows the power of respected news brands and their readers in the digital age to get things done.”
The Northern Echo is shortlisted for its campaign to keep 900 Department for Education jobs in the paper’s Darlington heartland.
Editor Peter Barron said: “Campaigning remains the most important part of the function of a local newspaper. There can be no excuse to stop fighting for change, revealing the truth, and giving local people a voice.”
Also shortlisted was the Glenrothes Gazette has been shortlisted for a story headlined ‘My Living Hell’ which highlighted the plight of an MS sufferer who had been left on a hospital ward for dementia patients.
Within hours of the story being published, a home care package was put in place.
Allan Crow, Central Fife editor, Fife Free Press Group which publishes the Gazette, said: “One of the many positives of working on a local newspaper is that we can make a difference to people’s lives.
“The Glenrothes Gazette’s story on a woman trapped in hospital because no home care package could be sorted took just one call from us – and suddenly everything was resolved. The family came to us because they knew us, and trusted us with their story. Local newspapers achieves results like that every single week by speaking up for people and their communities.”
Other nominees include the Sunderland Echo’s successful bid to raise £30,000 to pay for a corrective spinal operation to help a five-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer walk.
And the Western Mail’s campaign to get a star for Richard Burton on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is also shortlisted as well as the Reading Post’s drive to raise £1.2m to enable the Royal Berkshire Hospital to buy a robot which helps with surgical procedures.
The full list of campaigns is as follows:
• Barnsley Chronicle/Proud of Barnsley 2014
• Bradford Telegraph and Argus/Stop the Cut
• Camden New Journal/Save The Whittington
• Cumberland & Westmorland Herald/All Hands to The Pump
• Eastern Daily Press/Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal
• Edinburgh Evening News/Save Our Stations
• Express & Star/Green Shoots Fund
• Glenrothes Gazette/My Living Hell
• Harrogate Advertiser/Harrogate Homeless Project
• Hartlepool Mail/Callum’s Dream
• Hull Daily Mail /Hull City of Culture 2017
• Kent Messenger/Snapshots of a Life…
• Lancashire Evening Post/Twilight
• Littlehampton Gazette/Appeal to save Local Community Bus for Elderly
• Maidenhead Advertiser/Together We Can Build It
• Manchester Evening News/Save Our Science Museum
• News & Star/Who Cares?
• Northern Echo/Save Our Jobs
• Northumberland Gazette/Jam Jar Army
• Reading Post/Robbie the Robot Appeal
• Shields Gazette/Miley’s Memory
• Shropshire Star/London Link Campaign
• Southern Daily Echo/Have a Heart
• Sunday Post/Kiltwalk Team
• Sunderland Echo/Help Liam Walk
• The Journal/Let’s Grow
• Western Gazette/A303 Dual It!
• Western Mail/A Star for Richard Burton
• Westmorland Gazette/Driving Hospice Care
• Yorkshire Post/Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic
A selection of front pages from the shortlisted campaigns can be seen here.