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Local Newspaper Week: Local media's vital role in these high-technology, fast-paced times

Dame Helen Mirren and Olympic triple jumper Jonathan Edwards reveal what local newspapers mean to them

Local Newspaper Week logo 2014

This week is Local Newspaper Week, a time to stop and think just how vital local newspapers remain in these fast-changing, high technology times.

The Examiner is now a truly multi-media organisation and the theme of the week is Making A Difference which we try to do for our readers every day.

You can now read us in the paper, online, on your mobile phone or iPad.

We also have breaking news on our blog which runs on our website very weekday from 7.30am to 6pm – and you can comment on what you read about through the traditional Examiner letters page or via Facebook and Twitter.

In short, the Examiner is more accessible than we’ve ever been – and as up-to-date with the news as we’ve ever been too. On our website blog we tell you about the news as it unfolds. If we get a snippet about a breaking crime story you get it too as it’s straight on there so you can follow it every step of the way.

The phenomenal growth in social media means that people are letting us know what’s going on in their communities immediately.

Countless stories we’ve covered in recent times started their life on Twitter or Facebook.

One quick example was about the fraudsters targeting victims in Marsden which began as a warning on Facebook by Marsden resident Adam Frost.

The thieves behind the ‘skimming’ attempts at the Co-op cash machine on Peel Street placed metal devices and recorders at the machine.

The metal skimmer — a device placed over the real card entry slot — is linked to camera recording equipment from inside and on top of the machine. The device retains the card and the customer thinks the ATM is faulty but by then the thieves have your card ... and your PIN number.

We got the message straight out on our website and then in the paper so everyone could be warned the scammers were in town as quickly as possible.

People continue to email us their stories too, which is great, and as a local media organisation we concentrate on the stories, features and sport that you want to read from Town and the Giants along with all the local sports to crime, courts, local government, grassroots news in our Tuesday Neighbourhood News supplement, nostalgia on Wednesdays in All Our Yesterdays, plus all the arts, theatre and music news in Friday’s WOW. The list goes on and on.

Olympic gold triple jumper Jonathan Edwards says local newspapers are vital to the communities they serve because of the work they do to highlight important causes and issues.

He said: “By giving people who might not otherwise be heard a powerful voice, local papers can bring about real, positive change for individuals and organisations who badly need help but have nowhere else to turn. In the age of social media in which anyone can be a publisher, local newspapers’ role as a source of trusted and accurate information has become even more vital.”

Actress Dame Helen Mirren added: “By reporting on local events and performances, local and regional newspapers play an important part in promoting and sustaining the arts at a local level. Theatres up and down Britain rely on this exposure and support from their local papers to communicate effectively with both new and existing audiences.

“Of course, this is not the only important function performed by local newspapers. They campaign on behalf of their readers, expose wrongdoing and corruption, and uphold free speech.”

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
 

Nationally speaking, local and regional newspapers – in print, online and on mobile – are reaching bigger audiences than ever before, demonstrating that local news and information remains extremely highly valued. Key statistics include:

* There are 1,100 local newspapers and 1,700 associated websites in the UK.

* The local press is the UK’s most popular print medium, read by 30 million people a week.

* Local media websites attract 79 million unique users each month.

* Over 60% of people act on adverts in local newspapers.

* 70% of people spend half or more of their money within five miles of home.

* Local newspapers are more than twice as trusted as any other media channel.

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Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent