Islington Tribune

THE new look awards are now 'brand of the year', but the Islington Tribune stills see itself as a simple but classic local newspaper true to its core values – campaigning, informing, entertaining – and has in the past been named 'free newspaper of the year' in the previous version of the awards. We print and distribute more than 20,000 copies every week and from a standing start 20 years ago, we are now the best read paper in our north London borough. Despite the tough times, we have made no cuts to reporting numbers and, sadly an increasing rarity elsewhere, we still have a lively newsroom. We have won a reputation for our challenging, campaigning journalism – and after the murder of female student in Islington, we organised a 'VAWG [violence against women and girls] summit' to try and find solutions, rather than simply report on the crimes. We wanted to be part of progress rather than just watching the world go by. This led to our 'charter for change' issue, which we are marking authorities against to see how fast new measures are being implemented.

We do not shy away from tough news stories and were the only newspaper to have an in depth interview with the family of Imani Allaway-Muir, a young man who was shot dead in a complete case of mistaken identity. He had no links to gangs but was then portrayed as if he had in the national media. His mother trusted us and explained what this felt like – and how it only added to the grief. Three times this year we have had to rip up our front page and pages inside after huge breaking news stories: the resignation of two prime ministers and the death of the Queen. We used our late deadline to make sure we came out 'like a daily' with full reaction. This provided great colour, for example, on how people were feeling and behaving during that strange but historic rainy evening that everyone was coming to terms with the death of a monarch. We also ran our 'Lonely In London' features in a bid to provide a link for people who have been feeling just that, lonely – as the world woke up from lockdown, and recently ran a special issue on what we call the 'cost of surviving' crisis signposting people to help as bills go up. Every Christmas we also raise money to send hampers to residents suffering hardship. Our patch has many famous faces and so many authors, artists and musicians see the value in the paper and are happy to be interviewed by us. This makes for a review section fizzing with a real mix of cultures. We benefit from having Arsenal and Spurs on our doorstep, but we do not forget the real engine of community sports. Hardly any local team gets forgotten, whatever the sport, and we have a particular focus on youth. We remain determined to be a voice for our readers.