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When global news is also very local — and the ways publishers are changing recruitment in newsrooms

Good morning,

The shooting of 19 children and two teachers at a school in Texas became global news within minutes. Within days, much coverage was dominated by America’s gun control debate, and the impact events in Uvalde would or wouldn’t have on the US’s relationship with arms.

But the tragedy was also a reminder that every global headline normally has a local story at its heart. We’ve seen this in Ukraine since February, where the Kyiv Independent has come to the fore as a reliable authority on what is happening in the invaded country — even more so now that international interest in the conflict is beginning to ebb.

In Uvalde, it was the small team at the Uvalde Leader-News who have had to try and comprehend a tragedy in their community while also producing their twice-weekly newspaper, ensuring in the process that their work supports and helps local residents during this time.

The New Yorker has profiled the newsroom and spoken to several members of the team. It’s an article which we’d really urge you to read.

Jobs, we’ve got a few…

In recent weeks, it’s been noticeable how local publishers here in the UK have been taking different approaches to recruitment. After many challenging years, last year saw a sharp rise in the number of jobs being created in local newsrooms in the UK.

At the same time, publishers are more aware than ever of the need to make their newsrooms more reflective of the communities they serve. The latest NCTJ diversity report referenced progress when it came to gender and ethnicity representation in newsrooms, but called out social class as an issue. 90% of journalists have a degree or higher-level qualification — are we a profession which is out of bounds to anyone who can’t get, or doesn’t want, a degree?

We’ve got four articles on the site looking at this issue — three from publishers creating new routes into newsrooms, and one from a publisher which is doubling down on its relationships with local universities:

Local news publisher relaunches apprenticeship scheme

Local news publisher Iliffe Media has launched an apprenticeship scheme to help find the stars of the future.

Iliffe, which runs titles including Kent Online, Suffolk News and a string of weeklies around the country, has released a video encouraging would-be apprentices to apply.

Iliffe Editorial director Ian Carter said: “It’s set many journalists on the road to fantastic careers and I’d love to hear from people who may not think they have the ‘right’ background.”

Click here to read more

Newsquest launches ‘Young Reporter’ apprenticeships for 16 year olds

Newsquest Media Group is launching new apprenticeships through its Young Reporter scheme across its titles in England.

The Newsquest Young Reporter Scheme has been active for 14 years and is a schools’ programme for students aged 14–18 that runs for eight months during the school term.

All schools in England are invited to participate in the initiative but currently Scotland and Wales schools are not permitted due to the current requirements of the Government apprenticeship levy.

Toby Granville, editorial development director at Newsquest said: “As part of our commitment to newsroom diversity we are particularly keen to welcome youngsters from diverse backgrounds to come and work for us and represent the communities we write for.“

Click here to read more

Reach launches new opportunity for aspiring journalists to enter the industry

Reach announced the launch of a new Talent Pool across its regional Live network, inviting both new graduates and more established journalists to join, as well as students just about to finish their training.

Members of the talent pool will be among the first to get sight of new permanent roles and extra available shifts across Reach titles.

They will also have free access to Reach Academy’s library of resources, including skills sessions, videos and live networking events.

The Talent Pool has been spearheaded by Senior Editor for Training and Development Steve Thompson with backing from Audience and Content Director Ed Walker and in conjunction with the Inclusion team at Reach.

Steve said: “We know how hard it can be for talented people to get their foot in the door and hope this will help people build their experience, knowledge and network of contacts while they may still be looking for a permanent role.”

Click here to read more

Reach to set up newsrooms inside three universities

Publisher Reach, the larges regional news provider in the UK, has announced new partnerships between three of its regional titles — Lincolnshire Live, Leicestershire Live and Teesside Live and their respective local universities — University of Lincoln, University of Leicester and Teesside University.

The deals will see the universities provide dedicated space for Reach journalists, while senior Reach editors will provide a programme of lectures, job shadowing and mentoring opportunities for journalism students.

(Caption: (L-R): Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University — Clare Fletcher, Audience and Content Director for Reach’s North East titles — Helen Dalby and Teesside Live Editor — Ian McNeal)

Click here to read more

Other stories on Behind Local News this week:

The Courier releases 30-minute cold case documentary

The Courier in Dundee has this week released documentary ‘A Short Walk Home: The Disappearance of Allan Bryant Jnr’, a deep-dive examination of how a Fife man came to vanish without trace over eight years ago.

Running at more than 30-minutes and available to subscribers of The Courier’s website, the cold-case investigation examines the disappearance of 23-year-old Allan who went missing after leaving a Glenrothes nightclub.

Full story — click here

The minister left fuming over a Partygate front page which simply quoted a Commons question.

In a week when the Prime Minister was accused of lacking in leadership and presiding over a culture which intimidated cleaners and security staff in Downing Street, it would be reasonable to assume ministers would be keeping a low profile on the subject.

But Simon Clarke, chief treasury to the secretary, clearly felt otherwise after seeing the Northern Echo’s splash on Sue Gray’s report into Partygate — the series of lockdown-breaking parties which have left many in the country thinking there was one rule for senior Tories and one rule for the general public during the pandemic.

Full story — click here

London local democracy reporter lands two scoops in chat with Prime Minister

With the political temperature rising in Westminster, Prime Minister Boris Johnson headed away from SW1 — and straight into controversy over funding for the next phase of a transport project.

On a visit to St Mary Cray Primary Academy in Bromley, Mr Johnson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service of the need to get on with Crossrail 2 even amid Transport for London’s funding crisis.

Reporter Kiro Evans, employed by MyLondon on behalf of the BBC-funded scheme, used the chance to meet the PM to ask him what next for local transport in London.

Full Story — Click here

New true crime podcast explores case that has confounded investigators for 16 years

To mark the anniversary of an unsolved mystery, Testimony’s investigation brings police and key expert interviews together to tell the grim secret of Featherbed Rocks

On May 13 2006 a man walking on the beach in Seaham, six miles south of Sunderland, made a shocking discovery. He called the police and set in train a series of events that have yet to be resolved.

Testimony: The Body on Seaham Beach is a new two-part podcast which explores the events that took place following the discovery of human remains on the Featherbed Rocks.

Fiona Thompson, who covered the story as a reporter for the Sunderland Echo at the time, takes listeners through the actions of police and others in the weeks, months and years that followed, in the exhaustive attempt to identify these remains.

Full story — click here

Oxford Mail intervention enables public to know name of teen convicted of violent crimes

Argest Sallaj, left, was named after Judge Nigel Daly agreed with an Oxford Mail request to lift reporting restrictions

The judge who jailed a Banbury torture gang for 35 years took the unusual step of lifting reporting restrictions enabling the youngest member of the gang to be named.

It followed an application from the Oxford Mail’s Tom Seaward for the gagging order to be lifted. Judge Nigel Daly sided with the newspaper, lifting the restriction and saying that naming him would have a ‘deterrent effect’ on others tempted to commit similar crimes.

Full story — Click here

How an article in the Cheltenham Post changed the life of a local army vet

Readers of a free newspaper have rallied to help an army veteran who was struggling to live in his house while suffering from multiple Sclerosis.

Full Story — click here

Don’t forget, our 365 Acts of Local News series continues to profile important acts of journalism every day. Let us know on Twitter or on email if there’s something you’ve seen which you think should be on the list.

Have a great week,

Behind Local News

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Behind Local News

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A place to share the stories behind the stories