Service provided by local newspapers as important now as it has ever been
Sir, As someone who appreciates the vital role played by local newspapers, for many years I have enjoyed keeping in touch with local issues through such papers as the Aberdeen Press and Journal, John O’Groats Journal and Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard.
These papers, and hundreds like them around the country, highlight so many of the important aspects of local community life in a way that no other media could hope to do.
They offer an invaluable service which is why I wanted to lend my support to the recent Local Newspaper Week, now in its 20th year.
There are countless examples of local newspapers acting as powerful and effective champions for their communities, and very often it is the local media that are first to a story and who stay with it long after the national media have moved on.
Local journalism is about giving communities a voice and empowering people with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Sometimes, a good local newspaper communicates the aspirations or concerns of the local community to a wider audience, putting local issues on the national agenda.
In a rapidly changing media landscape, the advent of digital media has transformed the way we consume our news. Despite this rapid change, I am very encouraged by the evidence that suggests that local journalism is adapting well and remains in robust health with audience numbers remaining strong across print and digital platforms.
Indeed I am told by the News Media Association that, according to a recent survey, local newspapers remain the most trusted source of community news and information, ahead of all other media.
The importance of trusted media sources cannot be under-estimated in the era of so-called “fake news” and misinformation.
On a personal note, I have been enormously touched by the way local newspapers have covered mine and my wife’s visits all over the country throughout so many years and, if I may, I would like to wish local newspapers up and down this country every possible success in the future. You provide a vital service which is as important now as it has ever been. Yours etc,
HRH PRINCE CHARLES