Public Interest News Journalists: 10: MyBolton team

MyBolton team — Seamus McDonnell, Thomas Molloy, Helena Vesty, Thomas George, Paige Oldfield, Sam Yarwood

This website was nominated for its coverage of the Bolton coronavirus spike in September 2020

MyBolton is a new local news brand, launched in the Spring of 2020, which sits on the Manchester Evening News website but has separate brand identity on social media and other channels.

During late August and throughout September, the team provided comprehensive coverage and analysis of the outbreak of coronavirus infections which saw Bolton become the UK hotspot for Covid-19.

This has been a public interest story which was challenging to cover but the small team at MyBolton was able to remain ahead of the story at every step to ensure they helped to keep people in Bolton fully informed of what was happening.

Because of daily in-house analysis of infection rates, MyBolton was able to spot an upward trend in positive cases in Bolton very early, on Sunday 30 August.

At this time Bolton was due to have local restrictions lifted after its infection rate fell below those across other areas of Greater Manchester. MyBolton reported that evening that the infection rates had showed a ‘significant’ rise in the cases in Bolton three days before the town was due to be removed from local lockdown — giving an early alert to residents that the rules might not be loosened after all

The MyBolton team of reporters went out speak to people in the hotspot areas and made sure they were reporting the story on the ground and provided insight into how Bolton became the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic

The team also explained the new restrictions, at-a-glance graphics and charts were shared with the audience each day

MyBolton reported all the data available — such as the number of patients discharged from hospital which had over 1,500 interactions and reach of 27k and also tried to explain complex data such as the number of tests and positivity rates.

Nominations also highlighted the way the team used interactive tools to show which schools have reported Covid cases and also to explain the new rules at postcode level

It was MyBolton who broke the news that the infection rate had gone over 200

And every day, extra analysis was provided via the MyBolton newsletter .

See more from the Public Interest News List here

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