The Newspaper Society launches its annual Local Newspaper Week on Monday, aimed at raising the profile of the regional press.
The week celebrates the role of regional titles, in terms of readership, editorial excellence and campaigning.
Syndicated articles by the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales are provided by the NS for publication in the regional press during the week.
“The importance of community has got stronger, not weaker, in recent years,” Tony Blair claims in his article. “There is a renewed pride in local achievements and successes and a stronger need to be involved in the life of your neighbourhood.
“I think this helps explain the renaissance of local papers in this country. The best of our local papers – and there are many, many examples covering from our biggest cities to our most rural areas – play a vital role in reflecting and building the unique character and values of the community they serve.
“All politicians recognise the importance of local newspapers to them and their communities. Campaigning and effective local papers also help us do our jobs better, ensuring we don’t lose sight of the issues that matter. They help to hold us to account for what we do and what we don’t.”
As part of the week, the NS is working with the Prince’s Trust to run the Local Reporting Awards – which reward excellence in local reporting, by people aged 14 to 30 – about the important contribution young people make to their communities.