'this, children, is how people did protests before facebook'


by Dan Slee

Just recently my Dad moved from the family home after a quarter of a century living in the same place.

Before moved he handed over a treasure trove bin liner of things from my childhood from cycling proficiency certificates, school reports and Subbutteo figures.

Tucked in amongst the haul was two copies of the first newspaper I worked at as an NCTJ-qualified journalist in the mid-1990s.

The Halesowen News was a free weekly paper based in a small town at the bottom of the Black Country and was a brilliant place to start a career. I learned lots from newsroom colleagues Tina Faulkner and Jason Chare as well as from editor Mark Whitehouse.

One story really caught my eye. That was a picture lead on plans for a new balti house in Cradley. An application had gone to Dudley Council and the residents were not happy.

Rather than create a Facebook page – that was still years away from being invented – they made cardboard signs and invited the local paper down to photograph them.

On them they wrote:

 “Listen to people near not far. No takeaway.”

 “No matter what records say this is a very dangerous junction.”

 “Just think of the old folk in Long Inage and shift workers in Barack Lane. Housing tax payers all of them.”

 “One day this junction will kill.”

 “There are three within 300 yards.”

This newspaper and this story is a now period piece from the days when the loudest voice was the local newspaper.

Newspapers remain important. But now it’s one of several voices.  It’s only when you are reminded of how things used to be that you can see how much things have changed.

You can see a larger image on Flickr here.



Print Friendly and PDF