A local newspaper reporter who delivered emergency aid parcels to vulnerable people while reporting on the covid-19 outbreak has been given the Journalists’ Charity’s Special Award at the Regional Press Awards.
On top of his duties covering the capital’s covid crisis during lockdown, Dan Carrier from the Camden New Journal used his unique relationship with his readers to make a real difference.
Starting by borrowing a van with his colleagues, Dan organised an aid project, delivering food parcels and other essentials to the elderly, the unwell and families who have lost their incomes because of the pandemic.
Using the contacts made from 20 years of working for the paper, Dan pulled in favours from local businesses, liaised with local authorities and mobilised readers to help vulnerable people.
Every morning there are new packages from well-wishers on his door-step, from packs of nappies to trays of onions, and even jars of marmite! Thousands of pounds worth of food has been donated and distributed since lockdown through readers whose support has been galvonised by Dan and his colleagues.
On receiving the honour Dan said: “I’ve spent most of my life working at the CNJ, even as a 13 year old paper boy, and the paper and its readers means the world to me. When the pandemic struck, it felt like it was time for us to show our community that we were not just about words, but actions too. We promised no one in need would be forgotten. We have always told our readers we have got their backs, and this was another chance to prove it.”
James Brindle, CEO of the Journalists’ Charity, explained why Dan is so deserving of the special honour: “Regional newspapers have been outstanding in serving their local communities during this awful pandemic, and all journalists and editors are to be congratulated for their dedication, ingenuity and professionalism in producing papers against the most challenging conditions they have ever had to face. Dan’s commitment represents everything which is great about local journalism and illustrates the strong bond between a community and its paper, which is cherished across the land.”