TO CELEBRATE International Women’s Day we spoke to some of the female reporters at The Northern Echo about what working in journalism means to them.

Hannah Chapman is the Deputy Editor and has worked at The Northern Echo for 14 years

The Northern Echo:

“I’m really proud of the International Women’s Day special edition we’ve produced today. I feel strongly about trying to make a difference for young girls growing up today who have so much more pressure on them than I did when I was young. Social media and smart phones play a huge part in this – there’s no off switch now.

"By bringing together the brilliant women and their stories in today’s paper and on our website, I hope we’ve at least made a few people think about what needs to change to make things fairer for the next generation, and maybe about the small things they can do to help.”

Joanna Morris is a news reporter and a columnist who has worked at the Echo for six years. She reports on breaking news and works to highlight issues in and around Darlington and the Tees Valley, with an interest in social issues and gender politics

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I’m extremely proud to work for a paper that has such an esteemed history of campaigning and effecting social change.

“I genuinely believe I have the best job in the world and one that comes with no small amount of privilege and responsibility.

“Within a society that is unfair on many levels - whether it’s to do with a gender pay gap or low life expectancies in the North-East – journalists have a vital role to play in shining a light into dark corners, holding power to account and repeatedly asking why.

“That’s a role that’s been at the forefront of our minds while putting together our International Women’s Day issue and I am proud to have played a part in creating an important edition that calls for change while highlighting some of the problems that women and girls face today.”

Julia Breen is Deputy Chief Reporter and columnist at The Northern Echo

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I’ve worked here for nearly 17 years, starting as a junior reporter at the age of 22. Our industry – as well as my life – has changed beyond recognition in that time with the dawn of internet news taking us from daily deadlines and a print product to constant deadlines and use of different media to tell our stories.

“I’ve been an education reporter, business editor, women’s editor and feature writer. I’ve worked both full and part-time and I’m now a mother of three primary-age children, working full time again.

“I’m always really busy but I absolutely love being a news reporter – it’s the best job in the world.”

Laura Wilson, 21, is a news reporter for The Northern Echo and Darlington & Stockton Times. She graduated from university in July and was taken on to cover a reporter on maternity leave

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work at such a renowned publication in the region. It is the paper I grew up reading so it has been my dream to write for the Echo since I was in primary school. I have been made very welcome in the office with a mix of male and female reporters who bring something different to each regional team. It is a busy and demanding job but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Alexa Copeland has been a reporter for ten years and covers North Yorkshire

The Northern Echo:

She said: “There are many wonderful female journalists both past and present who have inspired me. When I was younger I was in awe of the likes of Kate Adie and I marvel at female war correspondents such as Orla Guerin who are fearless in their quest to uncover truths in the heart of some of the bloodiest conflicts in the world. They prove that women are more than capable of covering the most dangerous and challenging of stories. I don’t quite live on the edge, working from an office in Darlington, but it’s thanks to the strong and fierce women of times gone by that I’m even in this industry at all.”

Georgia Banks is an apprentice reporter who has recently joined The Northern Echo after finishing a creative media diploma at college

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I started working at The Northern Echo in September and everyone has been very welcoming making me feel a part of the team straight away. I really enjoy the job as you get to meet lots of interesting people and work on different stories every day. The female reporters at the paper have inspired me to achieve more in my job and have given me lots of helpful advice making me a better reporter.”

Charlotte Bowe is a senior journalist who realised her dream to work for The Northern Echo in 2015. She has been covering her hometown of Darlington and the Tees Valley area for more than two years

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I can’t express how proud I am of every single woman across the world who has the courage to stand up, speak up and point out issues of inequality that have gone unchallenged for generations.

"International Women’s Day has become a revelation in recent years, undeniably stemming from social media and the countless stories we can share.

"Campaigning journalism makes change possible for women everywhere – no matter their background, their voice will be heard. I am proud to stand with women in newsrooms worldwide who are working together to realise a fairer future.”

Sarah Caldecott is The Northern Echo’s photographer and has been since 1999

The Northern Echo:

She said: “When I started as a trainee photographer, I was the first and only female photographer that The Northern Echo have employed. 18 years on I am now in charge of all the photography at the Echo and although more women have come into the trade, Press Photography is still a male dominated world.

“I am really proud with what I have achieved over the years wining many awards and competitions.”

Paige McDermott is a 21-year-old apprentice reporter who has worked at The Northern Echo for six months after finishing her literature and creative writing degree

The Northern Echo:

She said: “As one of the newest reporters at the Echo I’m really inspired by the women in the office who work hard to cover the topics that are important to them. Being a reporter is such an interesting job where every week is a little strange and no two days are the same. I’ve spoken to so many strong women already whether that’s women I’ve interviewed or women I work with.

"I really love that we can all get together and celebrate and acknowledge what different women have achieved."