For as long as I can remember, I have been a news addict.
Being curious about the world we live in is as natural to me as passing the buck is to a cabinet minister, which is why my fascination with what my grandparents called current affairs has endured well over three decades and is likely to last until I end up on the giant spike in the sky.
From the age of 12, I regularly had to do my very best Linford Christie impersonation to avoid the school’s late register, largely because I could not drag myself away from my old man’s Daily Mail. But it was flicking through the various local papers which came through our front door that gave me the biggest buzz, largely because I recognised the name of places and people mentioned in articles – I had a real connection with what I was reading.
The obsession with local papers continued once I got a job delivering them but the only problem was that my round took twice as long as it should have done because I read every article while I was supposed to be working. At 14, I knew that I wanted to be a reporter, writing for the very papers I was stuffing through letterboxes and, 27 years later, I am still very happily working in the local press.
What I have learned in my years as local journalist is that what we do really matters to our readers – we are their voice, their champions, not to mention an impartial chronicler of events in their town.
Perhaps our greatest strength comes from the fact we are the most accountable of all media because we are the most accessible – many communities are still home to local newspaper offices. But we must be doing something right because local newspapers are among the oldest and most recognisable brands in the communities they serve and I have personally worked on half a dozen which are now at least 130 years old. This paper is committed to maintaining the highest of editorial standards which have earned us the trust of readers – local papers are three times more trusted than the social media platforms which so dominate our lives. So in Local Newspaper Week, thank you for your continued support and for keeping me in pastry products.