NOT for the first time since I became editor of the Hereford Times I have turned to the newspaper’s founder, Charles Anthony, for inspiration.

He has become in recent years a hero of journalism for me.

Today he would probably be described as an advocate of ‘solutions journalism’, which seeks not only to report the news, but to help us get smarter together and build a better world.

Charles Anthony did that, for sure. In addition to founding the Hereford Times as a liberal newspaper in 1832 he was six times the mayor of Hereford.

His civic achievements included tremendous improvements in public health and the city’s transport infrastructure. He was also an ardent reformer who campaigned for votes for women.

The Hereford Times continues to be an influential force for good in the county almost 190 years after its launch.

But it faces challenging times. The advertising revenue that has always underpinned its news reporting has been severely affected by both the economic impact of coronavirus and the growth of digital giants such as Google and Facebook.

That is why we are now asking readers to take out a subscription for unlimited access to our website instead of allowing it completely free of charge.

A deal running at the moment means it only costs £2 for two months!

Asking people to pay this small amount will go a long way to sustaining the sort of trusted professional journalism that Charles Anthony brought to Herefordshire.

I appreciate it is a lot to ask, but local news is vital for the wellbeing of our society, as Charles Anthony recognised in his first column for the new paper when he appealed for Herefordshire’s support.

He wrote: “If a philosopher were asked what constitutes the great difference between the means of ancient and modern civilisation, he would perhaps immediately answer – the Press.

"The correctness of this opinion is so evident that no one with expect from us an elaborate explanation of our reasons for commencing a new weekly newspaper to circulate throughout Herefordshire and the neighbouring counties.”

Fine words, as relevant now as they were in 1832.

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