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Local titles join forces to tell murdered teenagers’ stories

A group of local titles are coming together to tell the stories of the 21 teenagers murdered in London during 2023.

Regional publisher Newsquest is launching a campaign called “The 21″ which will run across 20 of its print titles and websites in the capital throughout February.

The campaign aims to “humanise” the victims, some of whom had become involved in gang violence.

It will launch online today, but has already appeared in the weekly titles wtih Wednesday publication dates, including the Barking & Dagenham Post, Enfield Independent, News Shopper and Newham Recorder, pictured below.Newhamfront

Simon Murfitt, senior editor Newsquest London said: “The aim of the campaign is to tell the stories of each victim in an effort to humanise them and show that even if they had become involved in a gang, they were still young people with their whole lives ahead of them who had just make a bad choice.

“The campaign will also show that this issue can affect anyone at any time – for example in the murders of Elianne Andam and Harry Pitman.

“We have also spoken to teachers, politicians, charities and the families of victims in a bid to get answers on how we can prevent kids getting involved in gangs and carrying weapons.”

A story outlining the reasons for the campaign went live online today.

It reads: “As journalists in London we report on violent incidents on an almost daily basis.

“At times it feels like violence is so commonplace that you can start to become desensitised to it. But the cases that will never fail to stop you in your tracks are the ones that involve children and teenagers.

“Looking through the pictures of the victims really brings home just how young they were. As well as a senseless waste of a young life full of potential, each killing has a devastating impact on countless family members and friends, as well as the wider community who may no longer feel safe where they live.

“We simply cannot allow this to become the norm, when the news of the murder of a teenager is met by a shrug and the response that the victim is probably ‘just another drug dealer’.

“While some of the teenage victims last year may have made bad decisions, for which they paid the ultimate price, that does not mean we shouldn’t do everything we can stop this from happening again. One wrong turn should not cost a teenager their life.

“And the high-profile cases of Elianne Andam, who was stabbed to death on her way to school in Croydon, and Harry Pitman, who went to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks with friends and never returned, show that this problem could affect any one of us at any time.

“This is why 20 local newspapers across London under the Newsquest parent company have joined forces to launch our campaign The 21.

“We want to show how each victim was a young person with a family and their whole life ahead of them. We have also spoken to MPs, teachers and knife crime charities in the hope of finding out how we can stop young people becoming involved in gangs and carrying weapons on the streets of London.”