No matter how global a story, it will always have its roots in local news

Since the start of the year, Behind Local News has been publishing the ‘365 Acts of Local News’ series.

The aim is to shine a spotlight on local journalism around the UK, day in day out.

On more than one occasion, we’ve reported on national news events being covered by local news. After all, pretty much all national news stories have local connections.

This week, however, we wanted to mention an international news story which, for one group of journalists, was an acutely local story too.

21 people, including 19 children, were killed when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in the Texas town of Uvalde.

Within minutes, the story was being covered globally. Uvalde has a population of 15,000. Its nearest daily newspaper is in San Antonio, some 83 miles away. As you would expect, events in Uvalde have been front page news ever since:

Uvalde itself does have its own newspaper, the Uvalde Leader-News, an independent title which publishes twice a week.

This was their front page on Thursday:

with this on the back page:

The New Yorker has published an article speaking to the small team who work on the Leader-News. You can find it here — we’d really urge reading it. It quotes Pete Luna, the photographer and general manager who recorded events at the scene.

As reporters continued to pour into town, Leader-News staffers found themselves in the uneasy position of being on the other side of the camera. Luna told me that he found some of the more voyeuristic coverage off-putting. “I was going back through my pictures of that day, and I don’t believe I have a single picture of a parent’s face,” he said. “I saw it with my eyes, but I was not there to record that.” I asked him about the mounting critiques that law enforcement did not try hard enough to stop the shooter. “A lot of news stories are coming out,” he said. “From what I saw, our local law enforcement, Border Patrol, troopers, when it initially happened, everyone was running toward the building. That’s all I know.”

As author Rachel Monroe noted: “The paper’s employees lost neighbors, acquaintances, and a daughter in a school shooting. Then they had to report the story.”

The very essence of why local journalism is so important.

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

>> See the series so far, here



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