The week in local newspaper front pages: When national news becomes very local
Our new series looking back on the week’s news through the lens of local newspaper front pages…
Sunday, October 20th: Brexit, again
If a week is a long time in politics, then kicking off a weekly review of local news with a story about Brexit is probably the best way to make it look really old.
But this front page from the Sunday Sun, able to report a previous day in Parliament for the first time since 1982 after MPs sat on a Saturday, does prove one point: Often national news is very local.
Boris Johnson told parliament he wouldn’t negotiate on an extension — and did all he could to appear not to even ask for one.
The way things are going, it won’t be the last time the Sunday Sun gets to report on a Saturday sitting from the Commons either…
Monday, October 21
Yep, another front page which perhaps shows a week is a long time … in sport too. But what a front page it is! Wales made it through to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and the Western Mail, perhaps the loudest supporter of Wales rugby there is in the media, served up a front page to inspire.
Tuesday, October 22
Back to Brexit, and this time in Northern Ireland — the place where Brexit isn’t just a local story, it has the potential to be an existential story too. Could Brexit bring down the very idea of a Northern Ireland Assembly? it’s a headline to grab attention from the Belfast Telegraph.
And the spectacle of Stormont assembly members trying to meet for the first time in 1,000 days warranted the first outing of the word ‘pantomime’ in 2019 …. oh yes it did….
Wednesday, October 23
It’s a well-worn truth that long after the satellite trucks have gone home from a national news story, and the Fleet Street reporter pack have been bundled back on to the train, local journalists can be relied upon to keep looking for a story. It’s back in 2011 when the Dale Farm traveller camp was front page news for weeks. Last week, it was once again front page news in Basildon, as the Echo continues to report on a story yet to reach its conclusion
Thursday, October 24
National news eyes were once again on Essex as news emerged of the 39 bodies found in the back of a truck shortly after it had arrived in the UK. Court proceedings ongoing since make it prudent to say little more at this point — again, a story which can shock on the national news, often feeling doubly horrific when it’s local news to you.
Elsewhere, the Batley News was proving the ‘sticking with the story’ point, with an interview with the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, who says the toxic culture in politics continues to get worse.
Friday, October 25
The death of Libby Squire, the Hull student who disappeared, dominated the national news at the time. The decision to charge a man with her murder much less so — but received due prominence on the front page of the Hull Daily Mail on Friday.
Also in Hull, a development plan worthy of any front page — a possible six-mile road around a lagoon on the Humber was certainly one to catch the eye.
Saturday, October 26
Sport barged on to the front page in Leicester as the Foxes knocked nine past Southampton under the floodlights on Friday night.
Such drama set hearts racing for a different reason at the Mercury’s newsroom, with just minutes to spare after full time before the paper was due off the presses.
Editor George Oliver said: “Our chief sub Matt Sulley did what any experienced journalist would do when presented with a big breaking news story — he looked to give it the best show possible.
“Matt put together several pages of match coverage then redesigned the front as well.
“He delivered the whole lot to the press with a couple of minutes to spare.
“He would say that he was just doing his job. I would agree — and add that he was doing it very well.”
In Southampton, the Saints should probably be grateful it got any attention at all on the front — with a story about bus lane fines in the coastal city much less painful a read for any footie fan there…