Reading paper publishes special wrap to honour lives of terror attack victims

A weekly newspaper at the heart of Reading has printed a poignant wrap-around cover to honour the lives of Saturday’s three terror attack victims.

Newsquest-owned The Reading Chronicle has received praise from across the community for its 24/7 online coverage in the days that followed the park atrocity.

And now the title has paid tribute to the town and the three men — James Furlong, David Wails, and Joe Ritchie-Bennett — who were stabbed to death in a knife rampage less than one week ago.

Included in the 36 pages of coverage is an exclusive column from Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Group Editor Andrew Colley said: “This horrendous atrocity has rocked the amazing community of Reading.

“For my team and I, this has been one of the toughest weeks in our careers.

“Throughout every moment we’ve been there with our readers — overcome with emotion as details were revealed.

“And through it all we’ve known our duty is to keep people informed in their time of need.

“I’m lucky to have a brilliant team of reporters who worked tirelessly to produce quick, accurate copy and continue to break agenda-setting news stories during this difficult time.

“We hope we’ve made the town proud with our coverage, including our special tribute newspaper which hit the newsstands on Thursday.”

The Chronicle — Reading’s only printed newspaper — was one of the first media publications to report on the incident in Forbury Gardens.

What started as a job for on-call weekend reporter Olivia Gantzer about reports of an air ambulance in the town, soon became a major operation for the small team of journalists.

Within hours, the Editor, Audience and Content Editor, Regional Audience and Content Editor, Senior Reporter, Community Reporter and Local Democracy Reporter were onboard leading coverage.

An emergency online conference at 11pm set the tone for the days that followed, with more than 25 stories published inside the first 24 hours of the story breaking — with reporters working throughout the night.

Over the course of the week, the title began to focus on community aspects — impact on loved ones, colleagues, businesses and the wider public, the editor tells Behind Local News.

With dozens of stories published online — including four daily live blogs — the task of pulling everything together for print began.

What followed was a special tribute edition — almost 40 pages, including a poignant black wrap-around which included pictures of the three victims and a silhouette of the Forbury Lion.

The image of the lion has gone viral following the attack, used by thousands as a way to pay tribute and to mark the period of mourning which has taken over the town.

Included in the coverage was:

  • Update on police investigation
  • Report on town vigil
  • Tributes to each victim
  • Response from community
  • Witness accounts
  • Timeline of events
  • Inside story of how police reacted
  • Witness accounts of connected raid on block of flats
  • Impact on community and recently reopened businesses
  • Statements from political leaders
  • Column from Home Secretary Priti Patel
  • History of Forbury Gardens and iconic lion statue
  • Comment piece and first-person accounts
  • Future memorial plans
  • Three-page book of condolence to each victim
  • Reaction from the world of sport

In total, more than half of the newspaper was dedicated to terror attack-related content, with a large percentage of that space reporting on the numerous tributes.

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The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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