The regional press industry has sent a united message of solidarity to the nation with more than 60 titles publishing identical front pages headlined: “When you’re on your own, we are there with you.”
As the United Kingdom struggles to come to terms with the coronavirus crisis, most regional dailies and a number of weeklies will splash on the message tomorrow.
Archant, Reach plc, JPIMedia, Newsquest and Iliffe Media have joined forces to launch the #ThereWithYou campaign reassuring readers that their local title is there to support them in challenging times.
A joint editorial, largely published along the same lines for each title, reads: “We are living in unprecedented times. None of us has seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic before. As the Prime Minister said: we are facing the worst public health crisis in a generation.
“But together, down the years, this newspaper and its readers have come through some of the greatest threats to society ever recorded and if we continue to stick together, we will come through this, too.
“Our lives are being turned upside down: schools are shutting down; parents are struggling to juggle work and home life; businesses are scrambling to protect their employees whilst safeguarding their very futures.
“Pubs, clubs, restaurants. Theatres, cafes, sports centres and many, many more small independent traders, all facing months of tradeless isolation.
“Thanks must go to those putting themselves in harm’s way in the care sector, as the NHS prepares to look coronavirus in the eye and not back down, caring for our loved ones should they be among those who contract the virus. Thousands will.
“But there are things we can all do to better protect ourselves and our families. It starts by seeking out the very latest expert guidance on what to do and what not to do as the pandemic gathers pace in the coming weeks and months. We will bring you that guidance.
“We know that for you, having a constant feed of reliable news and information that you trust is vital, and this is our commitment to you: whatever happens, we will be there for you. There to help you make sense of the situation. There to steer you towards any help you might need. There to offer reassurance and a calm, steady hand.
“We know that in the worst of times, the very best in people comes to the fore and so part of the commitment we are making to you today is to shine a light on the heroes in this hour of need. The volunteers getting bread, cheese and milk for those who cannot. The fundraisers keeping small businesses afloat. The care in the community nurses not stopping for breath on their mission to look after the vulnerable.
“We will highlight any positive community initiatives and good causes. We know that you are going to need us just as much as we need you. We will be there for you as, down the years, you have been there for us.
“Together, we will defeat coronavirus and emerge from it as stronger, tighter, more resilient communities than ever before.
It concludes with the words: “Look after each other. ”
Matt Kelly, Archant chief content officer, said: “Regional newspapers are the fabric of our communities. They have been for generations, good times and bad. And we are at our best when our communities need us most, as they do right now.”
Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville said: “In these difficult days, weeks and perhaps months, our role in providing vital and trusted news and information and publicising good causes of all kinds has never been more vital.
“And we want to do our part to support the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Alan Edmunds, managing director of Reach Regionals, said: “It is clearly time for everyone to step up and play their part. Our teams are committed to helping our communities in every way we can.”
And JPIMedia editor in chief Jeremy Clifford said: “The need for independent, verifiable news and information is more important than ever during this crisis.
“Local news media are the glue that binds communities and we will continue to play that role throughout these challenging times.”