COLUMN: This is YOUR local newspaper, so let’s all work hard together to make a difference

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I got into news journalism because I really believe in telling the truth.

As I’m sure is the same for everyone, there have been times in my life where telling the truth has been hard, and sometimes upsetting, but very necessary, and I wanted to help people tell their own truths in a way which would help benefit others.

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Because there are lots of things that we have a right to know about - how our taxpayer money is spent, how our streets are policed, how our local and national governments make important decisions which impact on our day to day lives.

But, I believe that in the near-decade that I have been working in news, the tables have turned.

Example: There used to be a time when going to the scene of an incident and speaking to emergency workers would help you get to the bottom of the story. Help you to tell people what was going on better than sitting at your desk, in your ivory tower.

Not so now - an army of press officers are the ‘go to’ point of contact for any journalist. No one at the scene is allowed to speak with us. We might send someone anyway, but chances are the one calling the press office will get more information.

It is beyond frustrating, and as a society I think we need to question whether this management of the news is in all of our interests.

We are your local newspaper, your eyes and ears on the ground, your friendly neighbourhood watchdog.

But many people mistrust the press at ground level as though they were some tabloid sharks standing on a z-list celebrity’s doorstep.

Anything that we do here for you with be fair, balanced and ethical. It might not always be what you want to hear, but it will always be the truth and in the public interest.

But without your support we cannot get past that army of press officers, we cannot achieve the changes that together we are capable of.

We need you as much as you need us, and do you know what, all of our democracy is at stake.

So please email me your stories and campaign ideas to hayley.okeeffe@jpress.co.uk they are in honest hands.