Editor’s letter: WLD nominated for top community newspaper award

The November edition of the West Leeds Dispatch community newspaper. Photo: Sara Thornhurst

By WLD editor John Baron

We received some wonderful news this week – West Leeds Dispatch has been nominated for a prestigious national award!

Our free printed community newspaper has been shortlisted as ‘ICNN Independent Community Newspaper of the Year’ at the 2023 Newspaper Awards, which recognise excellence in printed media.

The announcement came after a strict judging process which assessed over 20 community news publications across the UK. We’ll find out the winner at a black tie gala dinner on 28 March at the London Hilton Bankside.

It’s a humbling to be nominated alongside seven other brilliant community titles – and I must admit it will feel a little odd for WLD to be rubbing shoulders with some of the big national papers like The Guardian, Financial Times and The Telegraph!

It’s also pleasing to see our excellent printers, Mortons, nominated in the Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year category. Congrats to them.

Our nomination is a testament to the brilliant contributions of our dedicated community reporters, who write most of the newspaper, and also to the hard work of our community led board of trustees who help steer us as an organisation.

It’s also a testament to our loyal supporters, who support us financially each month, and our partners, whose ongoing support is very much appreciated.

Without the support of you, our readers, the newspaper wouldn’t be as successful as it is. WLD is made in West Leeds and it’s a real community effort. Thank you all.

Our latest issue is due to be delivered, hot off the presses, to our community newsroom in Bramley on Friday after several weeks of hard graft by our team – keep your eyes peeled for where to pick it up!

The new Moss Lane Bridge in Rodley leads to the proposed development.

Pick of the week

With all the excitement of putting together our latest print edition and being nominated for there award, it’s also been a busy news week over the past seven days. Here’s my weekly round-up of the five most-read stories of the week.

Our ongoing coverage of the controversial plans for housing on the Airedale Mills site again struck a chord with thousands of you who read both of this week’s articles (not including the two we wrote in the previous week).

Our most-read article focussed on Thursday’s decision by councillors to defer a decision the application, amid concerns over the layout, design and parking at the site. The scheme, with its new malfunctioning swing bridge, has been controversial from the start, and it’s unlikely the poorly chaired three-hour plans panel meeting will do much to placate residents’ concerns.

A fallen tree on the canal, near Kirkstall. Photo: John Baron/westleedsdispatch.com

Second most-read story was our coverage of the damage Storm Otto inflicted, blowing trees onto roads and over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Our article revealing drivers face £70 fines amid plans for new cameras at Armley and Kirkstall junctions also struck a chord with readers – with a very mixed reaction to the plans. Another article – this time about cameras being announced between Leeds and Bradford on the ‘racetrack’ A647 – was also well read and follows several years of campaigning by local councillors.

And our fifth most-read story highlighted the council approving a new jubilee pocket park in Pudsey – again, a story we’ve been following for some time.

If you have a story you think we should be covering, drop me a line on news@westleedsdispatch.com.

Support independent people-powered journalism in West Leeds

The West Leeds Dispatch is the independent people-powered voice of West Leeds, run by a group of passionate local residents.

We have a community led board of local volunteers and a team of community reporters made up of people passionate about where they live. We are an independent grass roots organisation made in West Leeds itself – but local journalism costs money to produce and we need your support to ensure the long-term sustainability of our project. 

We’re inviting our loyal readers to become supporters of the West Leeds Dispatch, to help keep the lights on for our project. Find out more about becoming a supporter here.

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