Ipswich/Felixstowe: Celebrate the power of local newspapers

TODAY is the start of Local Newspaper Week and a chance to celebrate with our readers some of the work we do. Every day this week week we will be reporting on why local newspapers play such a vital role in their communities.

James Marston reports.

I’ve been a journalist on local newspapers for a decade now. And I have loved every minute of working in this fascinating trade.

Reporting on the community in which we all live is a fantastic job.

We journalists get access to interesting people, we know what’s going on and where and we get to hear the gossip and the juicy titbits.

We get to travel about the stunning Suffolk countryside, we criss-cross the towns and centres of population.

Over the years, my colleagues and I have built up a valuable knowledge of the issues and concerns of communities, organisations, groups and individuals right across the county.

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And that is when we journalists reap our biggest reward – those moments when we can make a difference.

Highlighting wrongdoing, running an effective campaign, ensuring taxpayers’ money is properly spent by elected and non-elected public officials, letting people know, celebrating when the time is right, marking the important events and the less important, commiserating and sympathising in difficult times.

Getting to the heart of a story, supporting our community, reporting on why, who where and when is the very essence of what we do.

It is the job of the Ipswich and Felixstowe Star, and other newspapers like it, to do all of these things and be all of these things to everyone in the community.

We have the right resources at our disposal – the modern digital age means our news is just the touch of a button or a screen away.

For those who love the touch and feel of a newspaper – I count myself among them – we have a reactive and comprehensive print edition that lands on doormats every day right across the area.

And when the big news stories break, our team of award-winning journalists are on hand to work day and night to get the latest news to you.

This is a special year.

There is so much going on and so much to report on – the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, as well as everything else that makes the news.

Our news teams have already been reporting on these events.

We will celebrate the highs and lows of the world’s greatest sporting event and we will join in the celebrations of the reign of one of our nation’s greatest Queens.

Images, stories, special editions, souvenir supplements – we will push the boat out in what is already turning out to be a year to remember.

Local Newspaper Week, an annual campaign run by the regional press, aims to raise awareness of the strengths of local newspapers and the important functions they perform in communities across Britain.

Today and for the rest of this week we are going to unashamedly blow our own trumpet and highlight some of the work we do and some of the successes we have in our community.

Ipswich Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “I am very proud of our newspaper and all that we have achieved over the years.

“This week we will look back at some of our more memorable successes, our effective campaigns and some of those fascinating and life-changing stories we report on.

“With renewed vigour and the unfailing enthusiasm of our editorial team we will be working on your behalf today and in the years to come.”

It is no secret that newspapers and our industry have been going through difficult times in recent years.

But let’s not forget that local newspapers have still an important role to play in the life of our nation and it is sometimes at the local level where a difference really can be made.

n Why do you think local newspapers are important? Write to Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk