WHAT matters to you?
The men and women who are chasing your votes in May are out and about shouting their messages from the rooftops.
Meanwhile, we’ve been out and about asking for your views – together with journalists from our sister titles across the country for a special election website.
What Matters to Me is a unique site made up of a growing collection of short videos showing the issues at the top of the agenda – according to the people, not the parties.
The site was launched by Johnston Press, which owns the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail, as well as hundreds of other newspapers in the UK.
Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: “I’m proud and excited to be able to announce the launch of What Matters to Me at this crucial stage in the election.
“It offers a fascinating overview of sentiment across the UK, outlining how it differs in the smallest of towns to the biggest of cities.
“But perhaps, more importantly, it shows where attitudes are the same – connecting communities not just by their location, but by what matters to them.”
Over the coming days and weeks hundreds of people - from Land’s End to John o’ Groats – will add their opinions to the site. Under 30 seconds long, every video is tagged by the issue and the location, and users are given the option to ‘upvote’ or share their favourites.
Trending videos, based on a combination of the number of views, shares and upvotes they have, are highlighted by geography and topic too.
What Matters to Me will also feature a ‘live map’ that will continually evolve as new videos are added to show how important key issues are, compared with others, at different stages of the election campaigns.
Paul Napier, JP’s group editorial development director and heading up the What Matters to Me initiative, said: “As the election campaigns heat up, What Matters to Me will take the focus away from party politics, and shine a spotlight on the issues themselves, from the perspective of the people.
“We wanted to give real people in communities up and down the country a platform to raise these issues, as well as feel part of something bigger, and with What Matters to Me we have been successful in doing that.”
•Launch the What Matters to Me website here