The Northumberland Gazette’s Jam Jar Army appeal has been shortlisted by the Newspaper Society in a campaign to highlight local papers’ important role in the communities they serve.
Launching at the start of Local Newspaper Week (May 12-18), the Making a Difference campaign will highlight the power of local media – in print, online, on mobile and social media – to achieve positive change.
A showcase of 30 of the strongest editorial campaigns and appeals across the UK, including Jam Jar Army, has been unveiled on the Local Newspaper Week site, localnewspaperweek.co.uk. An online public vote for the best Making a Difference campaign will open on May 12 and the winner will be announced as a special award at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards in London on May 16.
Apart from the Northumberland Gazette, the newspapers shortlisted include the Edinburgh Evening News, Sunderland Echo, Hull Daily Mail, Shields Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post, Manchester Evening News, Hartlepool Mail, The Northern Echo, The Journal, The Yorkshire Post and the Western Mail.
Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “I am delighted that Jam Jar Army has been included in such exalted company. This appeal has really captured our readers’ imagination since we launched it in 2011 – everyone can take part in it by saving their loose change in a jam jar and it has made a big difference to three local charities already. In the first three years, we have raised more than £40,000 and smashed our target of £10,000 each year for HospiceCare North Northumberland, Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre and Shak Dog Rescue Centre.
“The Jam Jar Army recipient for 2014, after we held a reader poll, is the Stephen Carey Fund, which is raising money to supply defibrillators and other life-saving equipment to sports and community centres. It also aims to improve the awareness of emergency first aid skills. The fund was set up in the name of local footballer Stephen Carey who collapsed and died after having a heart attack while playing for Alnmouth FC at Warkworth in a pre-season friendly. Find out more about the fund on its website, thestephencareyfund.co.uk.
“We would now like everyone to spare a couple of minutes to vote for the Jam Jar Army on the Local Newspapers Week website when voting opens on Monday, May 12. Let’s see if we can raise the profile of the appeal even higher – other Johnston Press newspapers around the country have already taken up the idea to run in their communities.”
Lizzy Yarnold, 2014 Winter Olympics gold medalist, one of the supporters of the Week, said: “Local media plays an incredibly important role in making a difference to the lives of individuals in local communities across the UK in a way that no other media can – whether it is raising funds for a life-saving operation, campaigning to stop a sports centre from closing, raising awareness of a local charity or cleaning up a local park.”
Yarnold is one of a number of high-profile figures, alongside Dame Helen Mirren, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards and TV presenter Richard Madeley, who have contributed articles and messages for the Week.
A spokesman for the Newspaper Society said: “Hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers participate in the Week each year and this year the Making a Difference theme aims to showcase the role of local media in making a difference to the lives of people in local communities and to stand up for their readers and make a difference to their lives through campaigning, investigative journalism and news reporting, whether it’s raising funds for a life-saving operation, keeping a day centre open, campaigning for justice or cleaning up a local park.”
You can follow the Week on Twitter using the handle @localpaperweek, with hashtags #LNW and #MakingaDifference in Tweets.