Local Newspaper Week highlights the need for press freedom

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Across the country millions of people read local newspapers on a daily and weekly basis.

And as this week celebrates the importance of local news we are also highlighting the need for the press to have the power to scrutinise.

Papers like the Northumberland Gazette are trusted more than regional and national media, and it is for that reason that we need to have the freedom to question those that are held accountable.

But that isn’t always easy.

When trying to get to the truth of the matter there are always hurdles to jump and people, companies, and institutions that want to prevent you from finding out the real facts.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, publishers of the Gazette, said: “Local newspapers are more than twice as trusted as any other medial channel and at Johnston Press our staff, including those on the Northumberland Gazette, work very hard to maintain that trust and loyalty within the communities we serve.

“Digital audiences are increasing as more and more people choose to consume their news and information online - and this is an important part of our growth strategy - but 61 per cent of adults still read a local newspaper and more than 60% act on the advertisements in local newspapers so I believe our titles have a long and healthy future despite the changes sweeping through our industry.

“Over the last year we have been investing in our print products through the relaunch of all of our paid-for newspapers and by equipping our employees with the latest technology.

“I know the new-look Northumberland Gazette, which moved from broadsheet to tabloid format last year, was particularly well received and I am delighted that Local Newspaper Week gives our staff the opportunity to share with readers a little about how their newspaper works and why they love the job!”