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Column: The issue of trust

Local newspaper week
Local newspaper week

My first ever job, which I approached with the same enthusiasm I maintained for the dentist and non-permed hair, was a newspaper round for a local freesheet.

Not a massive surprise from a journalist, newspaper editor, and child of the eighties I grant you but it did give me that first hint of what it might be like to have my own name written in black and white on top of a story which actually impacted the people around me.

The job didn’t last long as I was not cut out for delivering newspapers at speed and with concentration, prone as I was to reading them while walking, and occasionally sniffing ( I do love the smell of a good publication).

I retired at 14 after accidentally stepping on a drunken man sleeping in his own doorway.

He swore and chased me accompanied by a cacophony of barking dogs, sending me tumbling over and cutting my hand on a pile of papers leaving newsprint literally in my blood.

Many years later, when I got my first trainee reporter job on another local title, I had no doubts I was in the right place.

The industry has changed enormously since then. The power of the local newspaper has changed, we are now a brand not just in ink and words, instead we are everywhere.

The number of people actually buying newspapers has declined, as has the concentration levels of readers in an information-rich, confusing, world.

Now headlines are everywhere and anyone with a typing finger and the internet can publish, giving way to the rise and rise of fake news and simply inaccurate assumptions with the advent of the safely anonymous keyboard warrior and algorithm.

We were lost too, for a while, but ultimately through the noise, there is only one type of organisation which can be trusted to hold councils, politicians, public and private bodies to account and will still ask the pertinent questions about the local bin rounds, the developments on your street and tell the stories of the people who live where you do - and that is the local newspapers.

Unlike website-only news outlets, we are held to account and our reporters are fully trained, including in media law.

It’s a tough ask - in a sceptical world - but trust us.

We are here for you and without local newspapers there would not be reliable local news.