It won’t be a surprise what I think but local papers really are a pipeline for the nationals, for stories and for their future personnel – whether in print or online. Their importance in the food chain, the most hard-working link in the chain some might argue, certainly where some of this country’s best scoops are unearthed, should be celebrated in this way.
While the same list of stories – just with a different slant – is generally served up from the nationals each day, in the best local papers you will still read something you didn’t see on the TV news or on a website the night before when you pick up a copy. That’s worth shouting about.
Now, excuses, excuses, the New Journal, the Islington Tribune and the West End Extra were only made aware of the awards after the deadline for entries – otherwise you might have have seen the gang on the nominations shortlist. Hey, we spearheaded the press side of the Save The Whittington Hospital campaign, aced the election coverage and, hey, reporter Jamie Welham filed from Somalia! What more do you want? My vote still goes to my colleagues in Camden Road.
The show goes on though and Portsmouth News, undoubtedly a good good paper (that’s two goods), won the Newspaper of the Year award. Most certainly deserved. But it wasn’t just the CNJ missing from the list for one reason or another. I’ve always got my eyes peeled for a good local: Obviously haven’t seen all of them, but these are five more goodies not on the NUJ shortlist:
Formerly the Cambridge Evening News or the CEN, this paper won a Newspaper of the Award last year. No surprise there. Long history. Insightful. Punchy. Campaigning. And a great website (even the film bit where the reporters act like newsreaders).
This one was recently acquired by the Archant group and the company should just leave it ticking as it is. It’s one of my favourites, showing free newspapers shouldn’t be simply disregarded because you don’t have to part with cash to get them. Issues of the KOS go on forever – and it’s not all padding and advertising, like you find with other locals with scores of pages.
An old favourite. I always get a copy when back in the old town. And whenever I do, the mix between community news and wider investigations shines through.
There’s more than one way to crack a nut and SLP is a bit like a kind of reverse of the CNJ: tackling crime with the same passion that we do local politics. In your face, the SLP doesn’t muck about, bringing the other side of the river to life. It’s full of gritty copy but it doesn’t mean they don’t write about what goes on down the local council buildings as well.
Best for sport. Gets exclusives about Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Brom before the nationals.