In the North, we have a huge democratic deficit to fill for our readers
By Darren Thwaites, Editor-in-Chief, Manchester Evening News
Which story from your newsroom will you remember most from 2018 and why?
Our anniversary coverage of the Manchester Arena bomb. It was beautiful and incredibly moving. Our front pages in print were shared millions of times on social.
Looking around the regional press, can you point to something from another newsroom which stands out to you? What was it and why?
The Leeds Live team under Matt Millington’s leadership. They’re exploiting the freedom of being a pure digital publisher, trying new things and achieving really high quality. They’re cool, energetic and creative!
What did you learn in 2018 about local journalism which you’ll remember?
When we collaborate, as we did over the Northern Rail transport fiasco, we can be even bigger than the sum of our parts. National media is too London focused and our regionals have a huge democratic gap to fill — especially for the 15.2m Northerners, who are usually ill-served by Westminster and have only trinket powers of self-determination.
If you had one tip to share with other editors about being an editor in 2019, what would it be?
The same advice I’ve always given — surround yourself with really talented and driven people.
What do you hope will happen in 2019?
That the North unites against chronic under-funding — and that our huge brands are central to ultimately leveraging greater devolved powers and funding from Westminster.
What will you be looking for in new reporters when recruiting in 2019?
Energy and intelligence
How would you sell your newsroom to someone thinking about applying for a job in 2019?
I won’t have to sell it if they’ve done their homework.
What’s the most memorable thing to have happened in/around your newsroom this year?
Introducing the Live newsroom model to truly liberate our reporters to grow digital audiences without compromise