The UK’s longest-serving daily editor has predicted a “long and bright future” for regional newspapers.
Terry Hunt, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times for the past 17 years, said predictions of the industry’s demise were “just not true.”
In an article in his own paper for Local Newspaper Week, Terry said the number of people reading the EADT and its companion website is growing.
He also revealed that in a recent survey of 1,700 adults on his patch, nearly 80pc of respondents said they trusted the paper.
Said Terry: “If you’ve heard any doom-mongers predicting the demise of local newspapers recently, let me tell you something: It’s not true. At least, it’s not true here.
“I won’t pretend that local papers don’t have their challenges. That’s been the case for decades, ever since local news competitors turned up.
“But, let me assure you that papers like the EADT have a long and bright future – and I’ll back up my argument with figures.
“If you add together the number of people who read the newspaper and the web visitors, we have well over 100,000 readers each day. And the number is growing.”
In an article in sister title the Ipswich Star, editor Nigel Pickover writes that the newspaper will continue to be a shining beacon for Ipswich and Felixstow.
Wrote Nigel: “One thing for sure is that change will continue with a capital C – and we shouldn’t be scared of it in any way. In fact we should welcome it and grasp it with both hands – as we have done through the decades since we were formed in 1885.
“As I write this I am overjoyed that we are currently enjoying our biggest combined audience, print and electronic, in a generation. What a success to celebrate on top of TWO newspaper of the year titles in the last few weeks, one of them national.
“The life of Ipswich and that of The Star have been intertwined over three different centuries now and that will continue, I predict, in to a fourth and more. The Star of the East will remain a shining beacon for Ipswich and Felixstowe!”
The Queen has also spoken of the continued importance of local newspapers as the industry celebrates Local Newspaper Week.
Her Majesty said: “Local and regional newspapers are a fundamental part of the fabric of our communities and we should celebrate the important contribution they make to highlighting the issues and achievements of their particular area.”
“I am delighted to give this message of support to this year’s Local Newspaper Week. I wish both local newspapers and their readers every success in the future.”
A full round-up of other Local Newspaper Week activity by local and regional papers can be seen on the Newspaper Society website.