SALFORD STAR TOP TEN STORIES…
Our top ten stories generated over 35,000 hits on their own during 2010, a year that has seen hundreds of articles posted on our website, and visitor numbers trebling since the summer alone. It's just a shame that 60% of people in Salford still don't have access to the internet. That's why, despite the popularity of the website, the Salford Star desperately needs to get back in print.
May 2011 will see the 5th birthday of the Salford Star and we'd love to get a printed issue back out on the streets by then. Please help us do this by sending in donations – we need to raise at least £3,500 to make this possible, and every cent goes straight towards that goal.
Meanwhile, here's the Top Ten Online Features of 2010…
1. HAZEL BLEARS – INSIDE THE ELECTION COUNT (click here)
Hits came from all over the world for this story, as Hazel was expected by those outside Salford to lose her seat. When she was re-elected, comments were posted (see here) slagging Salford people off for voting Hazel, epitomised by Joe Fleming with this comment…
`Well done Salford, you deserve all you get. Have you no sense? Blears is a miscreant who in any other walk of life would be facing the rigours of the law for her expenses fiddling but what do you do? Elect her...'
What these people missed was that Salford people knew exactly what would happen to the city if the Tories got in power – and in 2011 we'll find out the full horror of the ConDem coalition cuts.
On election night, however, the first act that Hazel did was to wish the Tory candidate well for the future. How strange was that? Maybe, to Hazel, it's all just a game…
2. CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON FOR SALFORD MP (click here)
This story made national news, as Christopher Eccleston topped a Salford Star poll to find a candidate to stand against Hazel Blears in the General Election.
When the Salford Star approached Christopher's people asking whether he would stand, the Our Friends In The North star didn't say `Yes' but didn't say `No' either…just that he "didn't want to comment at this time".
This led to frenzied media speculation that he would, indeed, stand against Hazel. Unfortunately he didn't, and the rest isn't really history. Shame really but there's always next time, eh Chris?
3. SALFORD COUNCIL FAT CATS (click here)
This incredibly popular story opened up Salford Council's wallet to reveal the pay of its highest earners.
It showed that 19 Council employees earned over £85,000 in the year 2009-10, and that those earning above £50,000 jumped from 242 in 2008-9 to 253 in 2009-10. Highest earner was Chief Exec Barbara Spicer with a cool £201,329.
And these are the people who, no doubt, will be selling the cuts to Salford's community in 2011. Although, in a poll for Salford Council itself, three of the top four ways people thought the Council could save money was to chop the fat cats themselves (see here)
4. SALFORD STAR WARS (click here)
Back in March, when Salford Star applied for funding from the community, the community reps were told by Salford Council that they would be `breaking the law' if they backed the Star's application. So much for community democracy.
This story again went national, rumbled on throughout the year (follow the links on the original story) – and is still rumbling on, with further revelations to come in the very near future.
5. SALFORD COUNCIL MAD MAG COSTS (click here)
Another story that went national for media watchers, as Salford Star revealed the full cost of producing Salford Council's Life magazine - a snip at almost £28,000 a month, or well over £300,000 a year, propped up almost exclusively by public money.
The original exclusive was published in January. By June we'd shown how, despite all the public subsidy, Life was actually losing money, which we estimated at over £45,000 during the year (see here).
6. IRLAM GAS EXPLOSION LATEST (click here)
Every day during the Irlam gas explosion, the Salford Star continued to give out the latest information to the community. Unfortunately, the Star had to get this from the police and City West Housing, as Salford Council, while informing the world's media of the events, never once sent any press releases to the Salford Star. How spiteful was that?
7. STEVE BROOMHEAD NWDA GAY TEXT (click here)
This was the story of the chief exec of North West Development Agency (NWDA) sending out a gay joke text about Elton John's `helmet', while the NWDA itself was championing gay rights.
The NWDA tried to dissuade the Star, saying that other papers knew about the text but hadn't run the story. We said `The Star isn't any other paper', ran it big and bold, and thousands of people flocked to read the exclusive - which, we believe, played a part in Broomhead resigning from the NWDA to "achieve a better work life balance" .
8. SIR BOB KERSLAKE PARTIES WITH TOM BLOXHAM IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (click here)
A mega photo exclusive that lifted the lid on how the other half live. Here was Tom Bloxham, head of Urban Splash, throwing a lavish party in his over opulent Bubble House in the South of France. And look who was there – Sir Bob Kerslake, the future head of the Government's Homes and Communities Agency which hands out massive grants for `affordable housing' to developers such as, er, Urban Splash….
9. LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTRE (click here)
People don't just click on the Salford Star website to get the best of our investigative journalism. Loads of the site is dedicated to the great cultural and sports happenings in our city - the top bands, art, theatre, films and footy team (that'll be Salford City FC).
Somehow, however, it's the Legoland Discovery Centre in the Trafford Centre that has brought thousands of hits to the site this year, which we reported on in March when Salford kids were among the first to try out the centre.
The next most popular cultural story on the site was about those lovely Chester FC fans who came to Moor Lane to see their team play Salford City (see here). They weren't happy with our report – but we can't wait for the return game at Chester. Big kisses to all Chester fans for 2011!
10. SALFORD ICON DEMOLITION FOR MEDIACITYUK (click here)
The Salford Star exclusively reported on how the Salford Central Mission (or URC Church) was going to be bulldozed to make way for the new Oasis Academy MediaCityUK high school – despite Councillor Derek Antrobus, the Council's Lead Member for Planning, saying publicly three years ago that he wasn't prepared to accept the proposal for the new school unless "there's a very clear commitment that the building will not be demolished". The demolition of Salford Central Mission was ratified just before Christmas.
So there you have it – the Top Ten Salford Star Stories of 2010 – judged purely on popularity. There were other stories from 2009 that continued to pull in thousands of hits – Chek Whyte's bankruptcy, the Shameless behind the scenes stories, and the ongoing UFO over Salford Precinct saga.
For 2011 the Salford Star looks forward to bringing our readers more exclusives, more investigations and more highlights of Salford's cultural and sporting prowess. Also watch out for our huge interview with Salford Council Leader, John Merry, going up on the site over the next few weeks.
Happy New Year to all our readers – may 2011 spare the axe from your doorstep…
With attitude and love xxx