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Impartial Reporter editor speaks of high demand for local news

LOCAL news is in high demand because people want to know what is happening in their community and are interested local newspaper coverage of local councils and courts, the editor of the Impartial Reporter told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme this week.

PM is running a series over the next week in which the programme visits local newspapers and follows the process of local news production, shadowing reporters as they go out on stories and sitting in on news conferences.

Broadcast on Tuesday, the first slot took a look inside the Impartial Reporter newsroom with BBC News Ireland correspondent Chris Page visiting the Newsquest title’s offices in Enniskillen. 

Editor Sarah Saunderson spoke of the intense interest in local news in the community. She said: “People know each other here, we recognise each other going up the street, people know each other’s families, and with that tight type of community people are interested in what’s going on around them.

They’re interested in the issues, they’re interested in what’s happening in the local council, in the courts, and we provide that kind of news so, certainly yes, there is still very much an appetite for that because we are such a strong community.” 

Chris went out on three jobs with the paper’s staff including a job with photographer John McVitty, who has worked at the paper for 36 years, to photograph a suspected break in attempt at a local business outside the town.

Chris also shadowed reporter Rodney Edwards from the paper as he went out to interview a local businessman concerned about plans to close one of Enniskillen’s main roads for works - a move which he said would affect his business. 

Rodney said: “it’s one of the main routes in from the Republic of Ireland. With Brexit of course, it’s something that we try to keep following and to continue to talk to people and get all the different views.”

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