THE valuable work of the Morpeth Herald and other local Press is today taking the spotlight as we celebrate Local Newspaper Week.
The annual celebration aims to highlight the strength of local and regional Press, highlighting the unique place we have in our communities.
Local newspapers act as champion of their communities, galvanising readers into action, supporting businesses and taking pride in their area.
We know that local people are best placed to make the decisions that will shape their community so it is vital for us to give them unbiased, up to date information that they can trust and rely upon, both through print and online. In this way, local newspapers truly give power to the people.
The Morpeth Herald works to support its community in numerous ways. Countless charities and local organisations have benefited from publicity, clubs and societies have found the encouragement they need and cultural events and celebrations have rightfully taken their place among the headlines.
Our recent petition calling for urgent flood works for Morpeth to be put back at the top of the agenda enabled residents to unite behind the cause, giving people the opportunity to show the strength of their feelings, while the town’s young people were able to have their say when we invited them to write letters about the impact of the 2008 flood and lack of adequate defences on their lives.
Similarly, thousands signed up to our parking petition, calling for a fair deal for all Northumberland towns and businesses.
This week is a chance for all UK local newspapers to celebrate their involvement in the communities they serve, and support for the celebration has come thick and fast.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said; “I always read the local newspapers. They have a very significant role to play in local communities, highlighting important issues within the area.
“They are a great way for ordinary people to report their views and concerns about what is happening in their area.
“I believe quite strongly that local newspapers have an integral role to play in the lives of people.”
Morpeth Mayor Ken Brown agreed.
“I think local newspapers are very important,” he said.
“Quite clearly the Morpeth Herald in particular plays a major role in the town in keeping residents informed of local issues and what is going on in all walks of life.
“It also helps to stimulate discussion on issues which affect the residents of the town, such as car parking and flood defences, and that level of discussion is very important.
“Of course, it also helps to keep people who are no longer living in the town in touch with what is going on, both through the distribution of the newspaper and the website that supports it.”
Morpeth Lions Club member Simon Pringle, who worked closely with the Herald during his group’s flood victims appeal, said: “I certainly think that local newspapers are important.
“They keep the community informed of what is going on, particularly in view of the various issues facing Morpeth, such as flood protection and supermarkets. It is essential that the public is aware of what is happening.
“As a member of Morpeth Lions Club I am particularly grateful that items appear of what we are doing as it keeps the public informed of how the money they kindly donate to us is spent.”
Morpeth Flood Action Group Chairman Alan Bell said: “We find the Morpeth Herald very useful in getting local information out to the community and we can rely on it to support our events and campaigns.
“We appreciate that it provides a balanced approach to issues we are dealing with.”
Similar praise came from John Beynon, Chairman of the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade.
“Our local newspaper is extremely important for getting out vital information and it supports us by giving decent coverage of our campaigns such as an equal car park charging policy across Northumberland and major events like Fair Day,” he said.
“It’s a major part of the community and generally provides a fair and balanced approach to its stories.”
Victoria Najafi, Head of Student Voice, Leadership & Enrichment at King Edward VI School, works with the Herald to publicise the excellent work and achievements of its students.
She said: “Young people as a whole are sadly often represented so negatively in the press, particularly with regard to national media. It is therefore a pleasure to read and share the achievements of so many of our fantastic young people via our local newspapers on a weekly basis.
“Local newspapers certainly aid the school in our mantra that we should not ‘tar every young person with the same brush’. Many of the young people at The King Edward VI School have much to give to their local community and local newspapers help us to share and recognise their individual talents.
“We have particularly enjoyed the creation of a new column in the Morpeth Herald this year, which we look forward to reading every week.”
Jeff Reid, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Local newspapers provide a vital link to communities in Northumberland and are an important channel for county council key messages and information.”