Alan Steenson
Editor-in-chief The Herald

Alan Steenson - Editor-in-chief The Herald

The Herald is a tabloid published throughout Ireland from Monday to Saturday, but is most popular in Dublin. Its content includes news, sport and entertainment.


Daily readership print

Postcards and poems as a cure in Covid times

When the mood in the country was at its lowest, The Herald called out to readers to support each other with messages and free postcards. A recipe against loneliness.

Campaign by The Herald to thank carers and volunteers. Photo by Brian Lawless

The past 12 months have presented a unique set of problems, both for how we produce our journalism and how we connect with our audience. Our duty is not only to inform our readers, but also to reflect the needs and changed circumstances we all find ourselves in.

From early March, we saw unprecedented demand for Covid coverage on our online platforms. However, as the weeks of lockdown went on, we got feedback from an equal number of readers who were suffering Covid fatigue and wanted more positive and uplifting content.

We also have a significant cohort of older readers, many of whom are loyal print subscribers, for whom the pandemic has been a very lonely and isolating experience.

Two of The Herald’s most successful initiatives of 2020 were introduced to try and solve these problems and connect with our audience, how they were living and what they were experiencing through these difficult times..

For many of our readers, the pandemic has been a very lonely and isolating experience

In May, we launched Herald Everyday Heroes, calling on our readers to send in messages of thanks and kindness to those who helped out, in whatever small way, during the crisis. It might have been someone working on the frontline, or simply picking up shopping or delivering essential medication.

It led to a flood of uplifting, funny and often quite emotional notes of thanks and even poems to sons, daughters, neighbours, shopkeepers, teachers, postmen and women and healthcare workers. These were then collated and published once a week, showcasing the solidarity among communities across Dublin and beyond.

As Ireland entered a second lockdown in October, the national mood hit a new low. In an effort to encourage readers to reach out and keep in touch with someone they loved, The Herald launched a series of unique postcards to collect each day. These featured photos of days gone by and were distributed free with the newspaper.

They could also be posted for free to any nursing home or care facility across the country, allowing people to connect with elderly or more vulnerable members of the community. They proved very popular and many readers got in touch to say they were sending them to family and friends in Europe, America and beyond.