On January 4, the United Kingdom once again sat in front of the television waiting for Boris Johnson to tell us to “stay at home.”
This time around, we knew what we were facing: Our cold winter days were about to get a lot darker.
Last year, during the first lockdown, our national news brands was there for readers by sourcing PPE, getting the country moving again, and supporting small businesses that needed it. Nearly one year since the start of the pandemic, the country now faces very difficult challenges — albeit different ones.
After a few weeks into the third lockdown, I took a look at some of the biggest issues the United Kingdom is facing and the campaigns launched to help people along:
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but to get there, millions need to be vaccinated. The Sun stepped up to the vaccination challenge and helped recruit 50,000 volunteers to support the health service to roll out its vaccine programme.
During a Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock applauded the initiative: “I want to thank each and every one of you and The Sun newspaper for leading in this part of the national effort.” The Daily Mirror launched a similar campaign, “Let’s vaccinate Britain,” with the Labour party and Trades Union Congress to encourage people to sign up as vaccination stewards.
Parents across the country are struggling with a work-life balance while home-schooling. For some people, the struggle is far greater.
In a poll run by Daily Mail, one in three families don’t have enough computers for their children to undertake remote learning. In response, the news brand launched “Computers for kids” to help deliver laptops to those struggling with accessible online learning.
To provide offline learning resources to the most deprived schools in Britain, the Daily Mirror launched “Help a child to learn” to support schools and children with the tools they need.
One of the invisible impacts of lockdown is the influence it is having on people’s mental health. That is why The Daily Telegraph chose to create an initiative called “Mental health emergency,” which raises awareness of the challenges people are facing — often on their own. The campaign continues to share the stories of people who often wouldn’t have a way to share them. It also provides helpful tips on how to deal with the lockdown.
To help younger members of society, Evening Standard set up “Young London SOS” after it was found that an astonishing half-million adolescents will need mental health support due to the pandemic. Funds raised will go toward providing specialist mental health counselling support to those in need.
These examples demonstrate that campaigning journalism is at the heart of our national news brands. If you want to know more about this, the Mirror’s Editor Alison Phillips discussed the newspaper’s relationship with its readers and the importance of being a voice for those who don’t have one on a recent podcast.