Shirish Kulkarni is an award-winning journalist with 25 years’ experience in TV news, specialising in mental health, young people and the far right. This post was originally published on The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's website. An edited version is republished here with permission.
Local journalism is a crucial source of trusted information in times of crisis, and local reporters are often particularly skilled when it comes to holding elected officials to account.
We have seen these instincts displayed by many local journalists at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefings.
The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how important local journalism is, whilst also putting it under unprecedented pressure financially.
Supporting and fighting for the local news industry has always been central to the Bureau Local’s mission. That is why it has launched its #lovelocalnews campaign to showcase the very best of local journalism and the difference it makes to communities across the UK.
On Merseyside, political editor Liam Thorp investigated why the region has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus. His work for Liverpool Echo used data journalism and traditional reporting to analyse the impacts of inequality and austerity.
Great work from @LiamThorpECHO using data and in-depth reporting to highlight the local impact of coronavirus on Liverpool and Merseyside. Exactly why we #lovelocalnews. @nuj @PINewsF https://t.co/1V2BEiDRMg— The Bureau Local (@bureaulocal) April 26, 2020
Local journalism is often the only way for some communities to have their voices heard. Wales Online's Will Hayward reported on the 'forgotten' people living in the shadow of the M4 in Newport and its dangerous levels of pollution.
Telling inspiring personal stories is something that local journalists are uniquely placed to do. Kathy Bailes spoke to Aram Rawf, for Isle of Thanet News, about his journey from kidnap and torture in war-torn Iraq to becoming a councillor in Broadstairs.
One man’s journey from torture and war to caring for the Thanet community - https://t.co/QZM50cc8QZ— Isle of Thanet News (@IsleThanetNews) February 8, 2020
In partnership with the National Union of Journalists, the Independent Community News Network and the Public Interest News Foundation, the Bureau Local asked people to share their favourite articles with them, using the hashtag #lovelocalnews.
The many submissions the team received highlighted the unique role that quality local journalism fulfils and the huge range of reporting that simply would not happen without local and hyperlocal publications.
You can see more of the #lovelocalnews stories here:
Our #lovelocalnews campaign, with @NUJofficial @ICNNUK & @PINewsF highlighted how important local journalism is. It fulfils a unique role in times of crisis and it's crucial to protect and support it. Here's a THREAD with just a few of the reasons why: https://t.co/Z8A4kqxbaR— The Bureau Local (@bureaulocal) May 26, 2020
Bureau Local will continue to add its voice to all those supporting the local news industry, by celebrating the best of local journalism and collaborating with partners across the UK to help protect the wider news infrastructure.
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