Newspapers at the heart of the community

LOCAL newspapers bring important issues into sharp focus and spark real, meaningful action, they give people the power to make a difference.

That is why the Northumberland Gazette is backing this year’s Local Newspaper Week campaign.

Week in week out the Gazette acts as a voice for north Nortthumberland championing good causes, supporting readers and getting to the heart of issues in the community.

In the last year we have managed to force Arriva into cleaning up Alnwick’s bus station with our Fix It campaign, we are trying to galvanise readers into keeping streets cleaner with the Scoop the Poop campaign and our Keep it Local stance has highlighted the importance of supporting local businesses and the local economy.

Our Pride of Northumberland and Northumberland Business awards have showcased the hidden heroes and talents of our community.

We have tackled hard-hitting news and we bring our readers up to date on local, regional and national issues.

And to show how well we have done this we were shortlisted for the Newspaper Society’s Regional Weekly Newspaper of the Year award, (circulation under 20,000).

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “We take pride in being at the heart of our communities and the first port of call for our readers who want to make a stand or highlight a problem or issue.

“We give people unbiased, trusted information which they can use the make decisions for themselves and their community.

“Our small but dedicated team works hard to make sure we highlight the issues that are important to you.”

To highlight the need for local media Prime Minister David Cameron has written the following:

I am delighted to send my full support to the Newspaper Society’s ‘Local Newspaper Week’.

For decades, local newspapers have faced fierce competition. First there was the radio, then television, now of course, the internet. But despite all these challenges, they continue to play a vital role and that’s testament to the extraordinary creativity and versatility of all those people who work in local media.

Local newspapers are hugely important to our country - for two good reasons. First, they strengthen our democracy, holding the powerful to account. Whereas national newspapers can focus on the bigger picture, it’s local papers that often really analyse the detail of what central and local government is doing and the impact their policies have on the ground. In the weeks and months ahead, I expect local papers to continue to scrutinise everything this government does in their area and act as a voice for their readers.

Second, local papers are hugely important in helping to build a bigger, stronger society. There is a massive gap between the state on the one hand, and the individual on the other, and local papers help fill the space in between, galvanising readers into action. That could be by campaigning on local issues, highlighting local clubs, groups, businesses and societies and encouraging people to get involved, or championing local people who are playing their part to make their community a better place.

By shining a spotlight on this good work, local papers persuade others to do more – and I want to see more of it.