THE Southern Star and other local newspapers around Ireland are marking their contribution to their communities by celebrating Local Newspaper Week.
Readers in print and online are being encouraged to support their local newspapers by buying a copy at their newsagent or taking out an online subscription.
Declan McGuire, president of Local Ireland, which represents publishers of paid-for weekly newspapers across the country, said it was ‘important to recognise the contribution made by newspapers in print and online to their local cities, towns, villages and parishes.’
‘We are there week-in, week-out and even during the economic challenges of Covid when businesses slowed or stopped altogether, we kept publishing to keep our readers informed,’ he said
‘We have come through recession, a huge loss of advertising to the tech giants, the Covid slowdown and now we face a cost of living and energy crisis, along with a 150% increase in the cost of our basic raw material, newsprint, over the last 18 months.
‘We have had encouraging support from our Minister Catherine Martin, government and opposition parties and we hope to receive more following the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission.’
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media TD Catherine Martin said that local newspapers hold a special place in communities, ‘telling the stories of the people who live and work in them, celebrating the vibrancy of the places we call home, and shining a light on the matters that are important to us.’
Executive director of Local Ireland Bob Hughes described local newspapers as the ‘lifeblood of local communities.’
‘They are a mirror to our cities, towns, villages and parishes. Where else would you find coverage of news, sports, entertainment and local issues in such detail?
‘We are valued as public service content providers and this has been recognised by both the Future of Media Commission, Government and our Minister.
‘We face serious challenges to our journalism and are looking for Government support in many areas, such as funding from the new media commission, partnership agreements with the tech platforms, reform of our defamation laws and a fair share of Government advertising. We also need public support for what we do and the best way to do this is to buy a newspaper or take out an online subscription. We have never had so many readers thanks to our new digital audience.’