Archant’s daily newspaper editorial, production and printing teams across Norfolk and Suffolk swung into action for the most keenly contested general election in recent history on May 7 and 8.
As well as the usual overnight editions of the four daily papers, the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, all ran extra early breakfast editions to catch all the late-breaking local results and rapidly emerging national dramas.
A special 24-hour news operation delivered information and analysis as it happened across all available channels, beating all the nationals by being the only print editions available locally with up-to-the minute results, pictures and news.
Suffolk editor-in-chief, Terry Hunt, had a team of 18 reporters and photographers deployed to cover every election count in Suffolk and north Essex to produce special editions of the EADT and Ipswich Star, as well as producing live coverage for the websites as the drama unfolded.
“It was an unusual election night in that, locally, virtually nothing happened until 4.30am,” said Terry, “and then everything happened all at once up until 6am. With a 6am deadline, that was a challenge, but the team responded magnificently, with our production journalists also playing a key part.
“We produced some excellent election special editions, with most of the local results included, and the websites looked great, with some terrific audience figures. Then it was on to Saturday’s EADT, with another 25 pages of election coverage!’’
Across in Norfolk, a team of more than 20 journalists and production staff in Prospect House, Norwich, worked through the night, collating live reports, photographs and social media from across the patch. District teams had reporters and photographers at every count in Norfolk and North Suffolk feeding dedicated online sections, social channels and print editions of the papers.
Providing expert analysis as well as unique local infographics, websites drew large audiences with live blogs, instant reports and pictures.
Pulling this together for print meant the first edition of the EDP carried 11 pages of election reports and the first edition of the Norwich Evening News had five pages.
These editions were updated – despite the difficulties presented by counts running up to six hours late in some Norfolk constituencies – to include 17 pages of reports in the EDP (and extra pages in the Evening News) for election special ‘breakfast’ editions which meant they were the only newspapers available locally with up-to-date news.
Norfolk editor-in-chief, Nigel Pickover, said: “We had superb support from the press team at Thorpe and the distribution team and delivery drivers meant, despite the delays to the counts and subsequent deadline challenges, newspapers were in the hands of readers very quickly. Point of sale activity was well targeted to market the editions to casual buyers.”
Throughout Friday the news team constantly updated reports and gathered reaction to the amazing sequence of events unfolding after the election as well as gathering all the local election results as well. Large audiences continued to visit the newspaper websites and Saturday’s EDP print edition carried 17 pages of post-election analysis, with nine pages in the Evening News.
Director of Archant’s Thorpe Print Centre, Clive Want, said: “Everyone at Thorpe and in the distribution teams worked tirelessly throughout the night and into Friday morning to ensure the election special editions of our dailies were printed and distributed as required. They did an outstanding job under the circumstances to deliver two runs of all these titles.”
Careful supply management and distribution planning from the Norfolk and Suffolk circulation sales teams, along with distribution colleagues, ensured availability was maximised and waste minimised.
Archant circulation director, Darron Mcloughlin, said: “It was great to see the circulation sales teams and distribution colleagues, who were in at 5.30am, working together to ensure supplies were rushed out to over 200 outlets across East Anglia. With increased facings in all high foot flow outlets, some one-off point of sale placements and very strong products, I’m sure we’ll see a strong sales performance on all four titles. A real triumph for everyone involved.”
© Archant Ltd 2013