The Leicester Mercury’s editor has praised his team’s “dedicated” reporting as they keep readers updated on localised coronavirus lockdown measures imposed upon the city.
Leicester became the first area of the United Kingdom to be placed under such restrictions in isolation following an announcement by the government last night.
The Mercury’s Leicestershire Live sister website generated 1.35 million page views the previous day as rumours of the lockdown persisted.
The newspaper also splashed on the announcement this morning, pictured below.
Editor George Oliver told HTFP: “We had come close to breaking through one million [page views] in a single day before, but this was the first time we had done it. The following day we recorded 1.68m.
“The size of the audience was built on some dedicated local reporting. This was a team effort but our politics reporter Dan Martin and local democracy reporter Amy Orton were absolutely leading the local news agenda.
“Meanwhile, deadlines were put back. Reporters and sub-editors did long shifts. Our deputy chief sub Richard Price logged in while on holiday to help get out a newspaper which reflected what Matt Hancock told MPs after his announcement was delayed until about 9pm on Monday.
“Some local authority websites have gone down under the volume of traffic. As always, there was a lot of speculation circulating on social media. But there were also a lot of encouraging comments from readers.”
He cited one reader in particular, who stated: “This is the reason why we need informed and informative local media. We’re very lucky here in Leicester to have such excellent journalists across all the media streams.”
George added: “The team at the Leicester Mercury and Leicestershire Live have shown the value of local reporting. They have used persistence and their experience to ask the questions readers were asking.
“The communication from central government bodies has been frustrating in recent weeks. But the Leicester team have kept on asking the questions – and will continue to do so.”