THE Hereford Times is proud to be supporting Local Newspaper Week, a campaign that celebrates the role of trusted local newspapers in their communities.

The week has seen local newspapers from across the UK join forces to praise the industry’s unique strengths.

According to 2018 YouGov survey, local newspapers in print and digital are read by 42 million adults and are the most trusted source for local news and information.

The Hereford Times has a proud history of campaigning on behalf of our readers and reporting on the news that local people care about – ever since our first edition in 1832.

The paper is currently trying to raise funds to transform the lives of 10 children at Herefordshire charity Megan Baker House, which works with youngsters with motor difficulties.

Last year its We’re Backing Herefordshire campaign pulled businesses together to bang the drum for the county’s economy. And the paper is currently fighting attempts by politicians with a grudge against the Press to introduce pernicious legislation that would restrict our ability to keep readers informed.

Editor John Wilson said: “Local Newspaper Week highlights the work of newspapers such as the Hereford Times and the important role they play in the community, and we endorse it wholeheartedly.”

We now provide instant news, sports coverage and information online and on social media, as well as in print.”

Local Newspaper Week is run by Local Media Works, the local marketing arm of the News Media Association, and this year’s event will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the campaign.

The following is a statement by David Dinsmore, who is chairman of the News Media Association, the trade association for national, regional and local news media publishers:

I have always been a firm believer in the power of journalism as a force for good in our society.

At its best, journalism is a messy and chaotic business which challenges and disrupts authority in order to expose the truth.

It’s not an easy job and, sometimes it can feel a bit like we’re in the firing line, with people bellowing down the phone because they don’t like what we’ve written or said.

But, following on from that initial disruption, good things can flow which change society for the better.

We don’t have to look far to find strong examples of this in local journalism.

I began my career as reporter on local newspapers and during that time I learned why journalism matters so much.

It’s fundamentally about people, their concerns and aspirations, and nowhere is that more important than at a local level.

I am struck by the enormous value that local journalism adds to people’s lives. It’s hard to define and measure but it clearly exists.

This value, created by people who believe in the power of journalism, is what sets our industry apart.

Apart from the social networks who profit from our content, yet invest next to nothing in the business of journalism.

They’d rather not deal with the risks and disruption which really good journalism always creates.

Apart from the vociferous campaigners and politicians who would rather that journalists weren’t able to hold them to account on behalf of the public.

For now, the industry has seen off the threat of Section 40-style costs sanctions and the sprawling inquiry but we must remain vigilant and alert to these dangers.

It’s thanks, in no small measure, to their efforts that we are currently ranked 40th in the world for press freedom, according to the World Press Freedom Index.

I find that appalling; the United Kingdom should be at the top of any such list, yet we currently languish behind countries such as South Africa, Lithuania and Trinidad & Tobago.

Despite this, we have so much to be proud of. Our local newspapers produce high quality local journalism which makes a real difference, day in day out.

Forty-two million people, 83 per cent of the population, count themselves as local newspaper readers, in print or digital.

We must use Local Newspaper Week to shout unashamedly about the immense value of local journalism and we’d like to invite you, our readers, to do the same.

Your opinion counts above all others.