Today marks the beginning of Local Newspaper Week.
It is the annual celebration of the part local newspapers and their partner websites play in keeping their communities reliably informed with the latest news, sport and adverts.
Under its major theme of Making a Difference, it is also an opportunity to remind our audiences of how we have served them in the past by campaigning on their behalf on a particular
issue or helping raise money for a worthy cause.
Here in Sunderland, for instance, we organised our successful Hold Fire petition to gather 34,000 signatures against the closure of Sunderland’s central fire station in 2015 so that the
safety of thousands of city centre workers and surrounding residents was preserved.
Gavin Foster, the managing editor of Northeast Press, publishers of the Sunderland Echo, added: “Echo readers have never been backward at coming forward to us to help others or
support our campaigns and that shows both how generous they are and how they trust what we say is true.
“It is a relationship which has prospered for more than 100 years and we are proud to continue fighting for our community and helping those in need.”
Another element of this week’s campaign is fighting the rising tide of fake news.
Only this week we warned our website readers about a rise in the number of consumers conned out of cash by bogus internet holiday offers.
Advice to counter further incidents was offered by Tony Neate, the chief executive of not-for-profit safety experts Get Safe Online.
Mr Neate said: “Local newspapers are a trusted source of local news who are signed up to editors’ codes and who know if they write something that is wrong that they can end up getting sued.
“We have worked with them countless times in the past and will do so again in the future.”