In what is believed to be a regional press industry first, the North West Evening Mail, in Barrow, and Carlisle News & Star have launched an appeal asking readers to help them invest in reporting on the communities they serve.
The appeal has been launched via a video message now appearing on the CN Group-owned dailies’ respective websites, with links allowing readers to make one-off donations or become regular supporters via monthly subscriptions.
A graphic also appears at the end of each indidvidual story on the sites, with a click-through button where readers can make donations.
The CN Group titles are thought to be the first regional newspapers to appeal to readers to help fund their journalism, although national daily The Guardian has done so for several years.
The video message appears on both sites, with the Evening Mail version attributed to editor James Higgins, pictured, and the News & Star’s to its associate editor Chris Story.
It reads: “At the North West Evening Mail we’re passionate about providing you with trustworthy local news, articles, features, and information. And we hope you enjoy having the most comprehensive coverage of your community at your fingertips.
“Quality journalism does cost money, however, and in today’s digital world – where many websites are misleading you with fake news – it’s important for local newspapers like the Evening Mail to invest in local journalists who care about reporting accurately on the communities they serve.
“This can only be achieved, though, if our news websites receive an income in return for that investment. You can help in this enormously by making a small donation for the service we provide online. And you can be assured it will be used for maintaining our high standards of local journalism.
“Simply choose the amount you would like to donate and you really will be making a big difference. You can also decide to make a monthly donation.”
The call is accompanied by a ‘No to fake news’ logo and comes after the regional press industry launched a pre-election campaign aimed at combating the phenomenon.