Behind Local News launches the Public Interest News List to celebrate local media

Posted on: September 13, 2020 by Claire Meadows

Journalists across the UK are being urged to celebrate local public interest journalism with the launch of the Public Interest News List by Behind Local News.

Supported by the Society of Editors, the News List will be launched during Journalism Matters week in October (5-11 October 2020) and will look to celebrate journalists and publications which make people working in local media proud to be associated with the industry.

The List, also backed by the NCTJ and News Media Association will showcase the stories which made a difference for communities up and down the country, and the reporters and publications which made them happen.

Launched today, Behind Local News will be running two appeals for nominations:

  • From September 13–19, nominations will be sought for journalists who have inspired others with their public interest journalism
  • From September 20–26, nominations will be sought for publications which have made a difference through public interest journalism

Entries are encouraged from all corners of local journalism, including local broadcasting, established newsrooms, hyperlocal and community websites.

The List will also form the centre-piece feature of the Behind Local News Annual, published for the third time this December, and sponsored by Chartbeat. It will be sent to journalists and journalism schools across the UK and is designed to be a celebration of local journalism.

Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors praised the initiative.

He said: ““This is a wonderful; opportunity to both recognise the fantastic and vital work carried out by journalists in the public interest of the communities they serve, and also a way of underscoring to that public the essential role of the media.

“In the hurly-burly of the news day it is all too easy to not take time to appreciate just what a force for good local journalism is.

“This initiative is well worth supporting and I am certain the entries will reflect the copious amounts of public interest journalism that take place day in, day out the length and breadth of the country.”

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “Public interest journalism is the beating heart of our democracy and should never be taken for granted.

“We’ve overseen the training and qualification of thousands of journalists to do this vital job to high professional standards, so that the public can trust the news and know what’s really going on in their communities.

“It’s why the NCTJ is thrilled to support this fantastic BLN campaign to recognise their work. We expect to see hundreds of names of journalists on the list as well as lots of trainers who have taught and inspired a generation of journalists so send in your nominations!”

NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said: “By holding power to account on behalf of their readers, local journalists underpin democracy in local communities across the UK.

“This vital function performed by our local news media has become even more important during the coronavirus pandemic and it is absolutely right that we should celebrate this work through the Public Interest News List during Journalism Matters.”

Nominations can be made here.