Screenshot of News and Star's Banged Up picture gallery
A photo gallery of the region's criminals launched by the News & Star in Cumbria is driving heavy traffic to the paper's website.

The 'Banged Up' gallery, which includes pictures of local criminals sentenced to two years or more in prison, has consistently featured in the site's most read stories since it was started in February this year.

It regularly attracts 60,000 page impressions a month, Ian Brogden, online editor of publisher CN Group, told Journalism.co.uk.

The idea for the feature evolved from a spread in the paper involving the local police, who wanted to tackle local perceptions of crime, but has become one of the website's most popular sections and has since spread to the website of its sister title, the North-West Evening Mail.

If the paper announces a new upload of images to the gallery – the next of which is scheduled for tomorrow - the figure can double, he added.

Journalists at the paper do have to monitor and update the images for sentence changes and releases, but minimal editorial input is required despite the gallery's traffic success, said Brogden.

In addition, the featured pictures, which are a combination of the paper's own and those supplied by the police, can be used in the print edition and as part of the paper's photo stock.

The title previously used picture galleries for 'softer' news items, such as nostalgia features, but is increasingly adding them to breaking news packages, said Brogden.

Last week's reports by the paper on flooding in Cumbria, which included photos submitted by readers, broke traffic records for the site, he said.

The site's previous traffic record had been set at the end of September by a similarly 'photo-led' news story of a fire at a tyre depot, said Brogden.

A total of 14 updates were made to the original version of the fire story and photos submitted by users were added to an accompanying gallery.

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