The journalists flying high as Canaries secure promotion
With the runaway success of Norwich City in the Championship and back in the Premier League, the Norwich City writers at the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News started planning early their promotion and celebration package.
Here Mark Heath, Group Head of Sport for Archant Suffolk and Norfolk, talks effusively of the brilliant work done by the team.
It’s a good problem to have. How do you do justice to a season like no other, both for Championship champions elect Norwich City, and every other club around the country?
We can put out brilliant print supplements standing on our heads, of course — but that’s your starting point now, not the end game.
Luckily, we had time. The Canaries were flying high all season, so back in February we could start to plan — and I wanted us to be ambitious.
I believed we could produce a documentary-style video about City’s season, a flagship piece of content that would get Norwich fans around the UK and the world talking, and stand the test of time.
By starting months before the final ball was kicked — while tempting fate perhaps — we could begin to grab interviews with key figures, go through our video archive and harness match highlights.
The Norwich City reporting team bought in straight away. Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt set the ball rolling on a series of meetings, with visual specialist Tony Thrussell and City scribe Connor Southwell heading the project.
Contacts were called in. Soon, we had some big hitters involved — high profile fans Stephen Fry and Ed Balls were joined by pundits Chris Sutton and Simon Thomas.
Drones were flown over Carrow Road for cutaway shots and scene-setters, our City reporting team recorded multiple interviews about key points in the season and Connor led the way as host.
Fortunately, the Canaries kept flying, and the project kept growing.
Soon, Norwich were on the verge of promotion — Tony produced imagery and gifs to put out across our social media when promotion was confirmed, stirring content that fans could connect to and share, promoting our brand as they did.
And finally, they were champions. All we needed was the joyous trophy footage and we were set, with the team working all hours to get the full package ready.
The result was ground-breaking. The day after Norwich lifted said trophy, we had a promotion party of our own, starting with the aforementioned Mr Fry reading a fan’s poem over highlights for a powerful piece called ‘To those we’ve missed’ — a tribute to the supporters who’d been absent all season.
That was followed by our third live Pink Un podcast, hosted by Dave Freezer, pulling together our writers and numerous other pundits, plus fans, to celebrate.
And then the main event — we premiered ‘The Way Back’ documentary on YouTube. That’s now over 11,000 views, with the whole package scoring 20,000 and counting.
Then, of course, came the cherry on the cake — two promotion supplements in print, led by sports editors Chris Lakey and Mark Armstrong.
The old and the new, all bases covered. Like Norwich City, a brilliant team effort. Now for the Premier League!