A career spent supporting and highlighting the interests of the north is how The Guardian’s Northern editor described his work to aspiring journalists.
Martin Wainwright, who joined The Guardian in 1975, was talking to Leeds Trinity University College students at the community news hub and gave a wide-ranging overview of the industry and the many changes which he’s seen.
Taking pains to point out that he wasn’t making an “anti-London” statement, he said the problem was a metropolitan focus by the national media.
“My life purpose has been to explain the north of England through the national media. There is tremendous ignorance about life here.”
He gave examples including the coverage of the Shannon Matthews case, where the Dewsbury estate the family lived had even been compared to Beirut by some tabloid papers – a far different picture from the town Martin knows well.
The talk, in which Martin’s passion for the region (and refreshing lack of powerpoint presentation) swept the audience along, concluded with a warm welcome for the BBC’s move to Salford – a “spring of hope” in changing the media landscape for the north.
* The next speaker at the community news hub will be The Guardian’s data editor Simon Rogers. Updates and details about all the activities at the hub can be followed here.
Regular readers of The Guardian will be familiar with Martin’s regular updates at The Northerner – an online and email subscription round-up of news snippets from across the north of England. I was very pleased to be able to produce the digest this week for the first time (you can read that here). Martin is introducing other authors to contribute as well as inviting reader input on how it should develop in future.
If you have any opinions or comments to make on the subject, please feel free to add them in the comments below and I’ll pass them on.