Manchester Evening News

The pandemic changed life for millions of us - and it changed us as a news brand. As we exposed flaws in the national Covid strategy, we spoke not just to Greater Manchester, but to the country.

The confidence this demanded had been growing since the Manchester Arena terror attack of 2017, when a voice for the region was needed. It has coincided with the growth of our digital audience - and it extends to everything we do.The challenge for us is how we balance being big with the need to stay relevant to our local audience. We do this through the quality of journalism and our constant search for new ways to meet their needs, not just with the content we give them, but the way that we bring it to them. We not only offer readers all the news and variety they would expect from a national title - with a northern twist -, we fight for our readers. Our ‘Pandemic lessons from the north’ long read exposed the impact that government decision-making had not just on Greater Manchester, but the whole country. We’ve held the government to account on ‘Levelling Up’ - most recently campaigning over plans for the HS2 network in Manchester. And we’ve shone a light on poor social housing conditions, after breaking the national exclusive story that a two-year-old boy died after suffering mould exposure. Our reporting exposed failings in Greater Manchester Police - against a culture of denial - before the force was put in special measures, proving us right. The way we handle live news means we’re not just a campaigning voice, but the first place people come to when they want to know what’s happening in their area. Each week we go out onto the streets of Greater Manchester, talking to readers about their experiences of the cost of living crisis. We recorded staff and patient experiences of the pandemic with our On the Covid Frontline feature series, which came after we secured access to the wards. And we’re always looking for solutions. Each week during the cost of living crisis, we’ve tracked the prices of supermarket basics so our readers know the cheapest. We don’t just want to help our communities - we want to reflect life in every single one of them. Our Belonging project tells the stories of Greater Manchester’s diverse communities through food. We’ve used newsletters - like our LGBT newsletter - to ensure we’re serving all our readership. New weekend series on local villages, fashion, food, property and city centre life which complement our feature-writing on true crime, politics, and place, keep loyal readers coming back. In 2021 we recruited 10 reporters - basing one in each of our boroughs - to create a My Brands team to reach further into our communities than ever before. We don’t want to miss a thing that’s important to our readers. We live blogged all 196 days of the evidence of the Manchester Arena attack inquiry. We’re not just the voice of Greater Manchester - we’re its eyes and ears.