THE Echo is “essential” and a “defining institution”, say Wearside MPs.
As Local Newspaper Week continues, Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central and Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South have spoken of their support for Sunderland’s paper.
Ms Elliot said: “I’m a big fan of daily local papers. They give that street-by-street news people love that the big national papers cannot do.
“It is essential for Sunderland to keep the Echo as it is. The benefits of a daily compared to a weekly paper are immeasurable. With a weekly you can miss out on important day-to-day news.”
Bridget said: “Local newspapers bind communities together and the Sunderland Echo is a prime example. Throughout the many years it has been in circulation, the Echo has been a trusted source of community news and has also led campaigns that have received national recognition.
“It is important that it remains a daily paper so that the people of Wearside get up-to-date information on what is happening locally, rather than just a weekly round-up of news.”
Similar sentiments are shared by Sharon, who believes a good local newspaper is a vital part of a thriving community.
She said: “People really value their local papers, which play a much bigger role in local communities than a website ever could.
“You very rarely get the hyper-local news that people want to read about in national or even regional newspapers, or the opportunity to make that news yourself, publicising important local issues and events, as well as holding local politicians and other figures to account for how they serve the community.”
Mrs Hodgson added: “The Echo is one of Sunderland’s defining institutions. It is easily one of the best local papers in the country, due in no small part to the fact that it is daily.
“Because it is daily, it can cover far more local stories and play a much bigger role in local life than it could as a weekly, and I sincerely hope that’s not the way we are heading.”