Local Newspaper Week is taking place between the 14 and 18 May, and the NCTJ is proud to support the campaign. Each day throughout the week, we will be sharing the experiences of local news journalists at a range of newspaper groups.
April Roach completed her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism last year at Press Association Training in London, after receiving a bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund. April carried out as much work experience as possible and discovered a love for local papers, and she now works for the Romford Recorder.
Tell us about what you do at the Romford Recorder
I work as a news reporter for the Romford Recorder. This includes writing for print and online.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
It’s hard to describe a typical day, because nearly every day is different. A day could be spent at court, or in the office writing and investigating stories, or out and about on patch, conducting interviews and covering important events and developments in Havering.
What do you enjoy the most about your job, and why?
I think one of the best things about working for a local paper is that you get to put on so many different hats as a reporter. There are so many opportunities to get involved with the community and to report how national issues are affecting your patch on a more detailed level.
Through covering the courts, attending council meetings or writing about something as local as the opening of a new ice-skating rink, you get to learn more about your readers and what makes your patch unique.
Why is local journalism important to you?
With the development of fake news and the demise of many local papers, I think local journalism is more important than ever. I think we need local journalists covering the courts, attending council meetings, and continually trying to hold local institutions to account, so that when it comes to significant events such as the recent local elections, people are aware how they can have their say in relevant issues that directly affect them.
What is the strangest local story you’ve ever covered?
The strangest story I’ve ever covered has to be about a man who mysteriously found his way into the Romford sewers and was trapped in the surface water outfall system for more than 24 hours before people heard his cries for help and he was rescued by the police.