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Advertiser’s photo provides dramatic blaze front page for weekly

An advertiser’s photograph provided a dramatic front page for a weekly newspaper as its journalists sought to help people affected by a fire on its patch.

Wokingham.Today ran a special report after a blaze at a new housing estate built on the site of the former barracks in the village of Arborfield, Berkshire.

The paper’s coverage was accompanied by a photo supplied by one of its regular advertisers, a local brewery.

Editor Phil Creighton explained how the fire had affected the “new community”, which Wokingham.Today aimed to help by sharing appeals for bedding, clothes and food lost in the blaze with readers.

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He told HTFP: “It’s been a privilege to follow the creation of this new village, and its various community aspects, over the past few years.

“Our coverage aimed to tell the story, while being sensitive to those affected. While no one was injured and pets were accounted for, households have lost treasured possessions and their new home.

“We worked as a team to produce our content. As soon we heard the fire had started, I went to the scene and took photos of the fire brigade in action, while the team, working remotely due to the coronavirus, worked on the stories themselves.

“They were also able to co-ordinate with people who had been on the scene before me; our front page picture was taken by one of our regular advertisers, a brewery whose tap room is very close to the site of the blaze. Their image helped show the extent of the fire.

“We went back the following day to cover the work by charities and churches to help the affected community, ensuring their appeals for bedding, clothes and food was shared with our readers.”