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Here at Peppermint, we’re constantly discussing the changing faces of our favourite regional and national print publications – and one thing that always causes a debate is whether or not regional newspapers are becoming ever more saturated with over-the-top crime reports.

Now, don’t get me wrong, crime stories are about as newsy as a newspaper can get, but it would be great to see a bit more of a balance in the reporting – especially as people migrate from print copies to online news sites.

Yesterday, Trinity Mirror’s Merseyside flagship title, the Liverpool Echo, launched a multi-media campaign to encourage readers to tell its editor what they want from the newspaper. Publishing its print edition with a completely empty page – reflecting a blank sheet of paper – editor Alistair Machray called on the people of Liverpool to tell him what changes they’d like to see ahead of a relaunch.

Using the hashtag #TellAli, people from across the city were quick to give their views, with too much crime, too many adverts and excessive coverage of Liverpool Football Club rating high in the early feedback.

Before the campaign, Alistair stated: “It’s clear we exist in a new Liverpool, and the Echo must reflect that. We’re proud of what we do, and now we’re asking ourselves: can we do it even better? Do we reflect this new Liverpool as well as we should?”

The publication, which has been serving Merseyside for 136 years, has asked readers to fill out an online survey, or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #TellAli, in the next 30 days, ahead of the programme of major change.

It’s great to see a publication giving readers the chance to have their say on its news agenda. After all, they’re the people buying the product. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if other papers follow suit.

Although it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I can’t help but wonder if the Echo will really take the feedback it receives on board. Ultimately, crime sells and ‘good news’ papers don’t.

So, what changes would you like to see from your regional newspaper?




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