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Sister dailies dedicate front pages to ‘striking mural’ for NHS

Two sister dailies have dedicated their front pages to a “striking mural” in honour of NHS staff.

Both the South Wales Echo and Western Mail splashed with a headline-free poster front this morning depicting a nurse wearing a protective mask.

The image was created for the Cardiff-based dailies by artist Nathan Wyburn.

Both titles and their Wales Online sister site have backed publisher Reach plc’s NHS Heroes campaign, which has gained 238,000 messages of support for health and care workers since it was launched just over a week ago.

SWE collage

Echo editor Tryst Williams told HTFP: “As part of the era-defining coronavirus news the South Wales Echo has been covering over the past month, it’s remained vitally important to run stories that celebrate and applaud our brilliant NHS workers.

“And we’ve been telling the stories of the workers on the health service’s frontline during these unprecedented challenging times.

“We previously worked with Nathan Wyburn when we relaunched the Echo with a vibrant new look in 2016 – so when we learnt he’d produced a striking new mural to thank the NHS, made up of individual images of more than 200 health workers, it chimed perfectly with our aims as a newspaper.

“It’s rare that we run a poster front on the Echo, and even rarer to run one without a headline – but on this occasion it was the perfect way to send a heartfelt message to NHS staff on behalf of all of our readers. And judging by the response we’ve received, it’s certainly struck a chord.”

The National Police Chiefs Council has sent guidance to police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on working with journalists during the COVID-19 outbreak following “constructive talks” with the National Union of Journalists.

The guidance explains that journalists are covered as key workers and will be expected to carry a UK press card or other official record of employment, and will be expected to comply with public health guidelines on numbers and social distancing.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “It is vital that journalists and photographers are free to report during this crisis, and be out on the streets while doing so.

“We were pleased with the constructive discussions with the head of the National Police Chiefs Council who is supportive and understanding of the right for media workers to do their jobs.
“With these rights also come responsibilities, and of course we expect our members to behave accordingly. Press freedom must not be compromised during this period.”

The Lancashire Post is to publish audio versions of stories to its website in a new initiative aimed at helping readers with visual impairments during the pandemic.

The paper’s JPIMedia sister weeklies the Lancaster Guardian, Morecambe Visitor, and Chorley and Leyland Guardian are also involved in the scheme, run with sight loss charity Galloway’s.

Mike Hill, advance content hub North-West editor at the Post, said: “As part of our role to provide trusted content to our community, we want to make sure as many people as possible are able to hear about the stories that matter to them.”

Rachel Watkinson, head of services at Galloway’s, added: “With social isolation becoming a bigger issue for the wider community following the coronavirus, we know how valuable keeping in touch with the outside world is.

“So we are excited to be forging an even stronger relationship with our local newspapers to deliver audio news from Lancashire and Sefton straight to you through our skill or the newspaper websites so you don’t need to feel alone.”

Facebook has announced a $100m fund is to be made available to local news organisations worldwide.

A total of $25 million will be given out in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook journalism project, while the social media site will invest $75 million in additional marketing spend to move money over to news organisations around the world.

BA photojournalism students from the University of South Wales have launched a project that will document their “self-isolation journey”.

Staff and students have created a new Instagram account dedicated to “capturing the essence of the pandemic, through images which highlight the community and spirit of the cohort whilst in isolation”.

Senior lecturer Becky Matthews said: “We are in the midst of the most important event of our generation. As photojournalists this a story we have to document.

“Individually our lives at the moment probably feel very mundane, but self-isolation is the most important thing we can do. We have students all over the world, some staying with their families and some isolating alone.

“As a course we are a community and we need stay connected during this period of separation – shooting and sharing our own daily experiences will help us to do this.”