Our newsroom: It’s the people which make Hull — the city and the newsroom — a privilege to work in
There’s never a dull day in Hull — or so it seems for the journalists who have helped make the HullLive website, online home of the Hull Daily Mail, Yorkshire’s largest website. In this week’s ‘Our newsroom,’ digital editor Jenna Thompson takes us behind the scenes…
Tell us about your newsroom
It’s a busy, lively place with a dedicated team who are passionate about creating content that people in Hull and East Yorkshire want to read. We are proud that we are Yorkshire’s most-read news website and in the Hull Daily Mail we have the biggest selling newspaper in Yorkshire.
We are extremely connected to our audience and know what kind of content they want to read, when they want to read it and how they want to access it. This means we are not afraid to try new things, we learn from our mistakes and we treat every day the same — this isn’t a Monday to Friday, 9–5 business.
While we work extremely hard, the newsroom is also fairly relaxed — it’s a world away from the competitive, shouty newsrooms that I found myself in at the start of my career. It is so much better than that — we know that we are much more successful when we all work together in a positive atmosphere.
Overall it’s a really fun place to work. We are always laughing and there is a great camaraderie within the team. We tell people working here will be exciting, unpredictable and sometimes challenging — but they will definitely have a good time.
What’s the best thing about covering your area?
Hull is such a newsy patch that there is always something for our reporters to get their teeth into — and there is a story every day that surprises!
But the best thing is probably the people of Hull. They are incredibly friendly and so many are willing to share their stories with us, which I think is an amazing privilege.
What’s the thing your newsroom is most proud of from the last 12 months?
The way we dealt with the case of missing Hull student Libby Squire really stands out. For the six weeks until her body was tragically found in the River Humber, we provided minute-by-minute updates to our readers about what was going on. We also engaged with our audience more than we ever have done, explaining the decisions we were making around what we did and didn’t publish and answering their questions.
Throughout it all, we saw Libby as a person, not a story and that informed every decision we made. The team were all touched by her disappearance and that showed in our content.
What story are your readers most likely to be remember recently?
There are two stories we have covered extensively in the past couple of years that our readers always bring up and they are Laura Plummer, a Hull woman who was jailed for smuggling tramadol into Egypt, and Melissa Ede, a prominent LGBT campaigner and taxi driver who won £4 million on a scratch card. Sadly, she died in May.
We covered both of these women’s stories extensively because our audience were so interested in reading every detail of their lives — even if they don’t always admit that!
Which story sticks out in your memory the most from the newsroom?
The way that we covered two attacks in Hull city centre in September. A man armed with an axe had gone into two banks and poured petrol inside them before setting it alight. We got a call, as you do, saying ‘something’s going on in the city centre’ without truly knowing the gravity of the situation. But instead of running away, like many people understandably were, our reporters ran towards danger so that we could provide live updates as the city centre was put on lockdown.
The coverage was comprehensive — informative without scaremongering, telling the truth behind the rumours that come out of incidents like this, and, importantly, showcasing the heroics of the many people who risked their own lives to tackle the offender.
If you had two sentences to convince someone to work in your newsroom, what would they be?
If you are looking for a fast-paced, fun environment that is packed with variety, Hull is the place for you.
The city itself is also one of the UK’s best-kept secrets, with culture, entertainment, a beautiful coast and countryside onour doorstep — and where pints cost less than £4.