Salisbury Journal Backs City’s Businesses After Nerve Agent Attack

The Salisbury Journal has launched a campaign in support of local businesses after local traders reported a slump following the nerve agent attack on a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the city.

The Newsquest weekly title was first alerted to the story when one of the paper’s freelance photographers sent video footage of an air ambulance landing in the city’s central car park on the evening of Sunday 4 March.

Journal staff photographer Tom Gregory and reporter Rebecca Hudson attended the scene as the victims were taken to hospital and secured exclusive pictures of response units arriving to decontaminate the area.

The accompanying story attracted more than 70,000 page views and when it emerged that one of the victims of the attempted murder was a former Russian double agent, the paper started fielding media calls from across the globe.

Last week, the paper pushed its Wednesday print deadline back by four hours to get the latest detail on the case and this week the paper pushed its deadline back by an hour to include the Prime Minister’s statement on the attack in the House of Commons.

By Thursday last week, the paper’s collection of stories on the attempted murder had received 300,000 page views and the Journal’s live blog had received well over 100,000 views.

Following reports of a slump in trade from local businesses, the paper this week launched the #SalisburyisOpen campaign to spread the word that Salisbury is open for business following the attack.

Editor Joe Riddle said: “In addition to covering the latest developments on the attack as they unfold, we are now also trying to help get businesses back on their feet and remind people that Salisbury is still very much open for business.”

Publisher Bill Browne said: “We want to let as many people as possible know that Salisbury is still a great place to visit, shop and enjoy yourself. So go tell your family, friends and contacts about us and what a great variety of attractions we have here.

“For now it’s about telling people that the city is open for business, but in the future we will develop the campaign to one that underlines the commercial strength and the historic legacy that Salisbury has.

“We are delighted with the initial response and we urge businesses to continue to sign up and remind us what they do. And if there are any other companies who want to play a part do get in contact.”