Historic collaboration between northern hyperlocal and regional press calls on Gov to end rail chaos

By Matt Abbott | 6th Jun 2018

Independent community and hyperlocal news outlets across the north joined forces with rival publishers Reach, Newsquest and Johnston Press to address rail service chaos in the region.

Eight northern hyperlocal news outlets, six of which are members of ICNN, took part in an unprecedented show of unity by publishing a joint article and petition alongside many local and regional titles calling on the government to improve rail services and transport infrastructure in the north.

Following thousands of service cancellations since Northern Rail’s new timetable was launched in May, which left tens of thousands of commuters stranded, and government rhetoric on the north being a transport powerhouse, the response from local and regional press was clear.

‘Enough is enough’ their headlines read.

In an historic collaboration, thirty-three titles published a petition calling for:

  • immediate action to end the Northern Rail crisis – not just an ‘inquiry’
  • immediate introduction of a proper compensation scheme, within days not weeks
  • ALL major northern transport promises gathering dust on the transport secretary’s desk to finally be agreed
  • new high-speed northern lines BEFORE Crossrail 2
  • the same transport funding as London

As Behind Local News reported, “It is the first time so many titles have united to send the same message to government”.

Independent community and hyperlocal publishers which took part included The West Leeds Dispatch, South Leeds Life, The Ambler, Nantwich News, Rochdale Online, Blog Preston, Alt Blackpool and the Wythenshawe Reporter.

This collaboration follows a talk given by Director of ICNN, Emma Meese, to the Behind Local News Conference last month.

Emma Meese addressed the conference on the topic of collaboration and whether hyperlocal, local and regional newsrooms can work together.

The message delivered was a sobering account of empty promises; stories being republished without credit; sabotage, and in some cases outright theft.

Emma said: “We believe in the value of local news. We believe it contributes to maintaining a sense of community and supporting healthy democratic engagement. Digital technologies have allowed communities to redefine the role of news in local areas. That applies to us all. The question is, what do we do about it?

“This collaboration goes some way in addressing that question and we welcome the chance to share the opportunity, and any more that follow as a result, with our members.”

The full list of participating newspapers

Johnston Press

The Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Evening Post

Sheffield Star

Lancashire Evening Post

Blackpool Gazette

Wigan Post

Chorley Guardian (weekly)

Leyland Guardian (weekly)

Newsquest

The Northern Echo

Lancashire Telegraph

The Bradford Telegraph & Argus

The Bolton News

The Oldham Times (weekly)

Bury Times (weekly)

Radcliffe Times (weekly)

Prestwich & Whitefield Guide (weekly)

The Messenger (weekly)

Bolton Post (weekly)

Reach

Newcastle Journal,

Liverpool Echo

MEN

Huddersfield Examiner

Teesside Gazette

Northern Chronicle

Leeds Live

Community / Hyperlocal

Wythenshawe Reporter

Amble by the sea

Nantwich News

Alt Blackpool

West Leeds Dispatch

South Leeds Life

Rochdale Online

Blog Preston

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