FORMER South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan has urged local people to make sure the writing is not on the wall for the local press.
The lockdown has undoubtedly posed significant challenges for the sector, with some titles ceasing publication until the crisis ends.
Others, including all Alpha titles, are open for business - and are attempting to weather the storm in increasingly difficult trading conditions.
The UUP man has backed the growing clamour for the government to intervene with a support package for the industry - but has stressed that local people have a key role to play in securing the future of their paper.
“I think we all take our local press all too often for granted and forget that few other forms of media cover what is really happening in your immediate locality,” he said.
“It is the local paper that concentrates on your town or village, shows the very best of our community, our business, our schools or colleges and every aspect of our daily lives.
“If I can borrow a little from the BBC’s ‘Big Night In’, if you want to see, hear about your grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter, nephew, niece, cousin , friend or neighbour - in fact anyone whatever the news, good or bad , happy or sad - it is the local press that brings it to you. Please support your local press.”
He also rejected the notion that facebook can step in to fill the gap.
“Not everyone is on social media and many still enjoy the ease of browsing through the news in paper format and reading in depth what is going on, what is going to happen or what has happened many years ago - and it is that print that keeps us all well informed,” he said.
“It is also newspaper print that holds all of us accountable too.
“Please, please encourage everyone to give their stories to the paper - and encourage everyone else to buy it.
“As other social media has taken over it has been hard for local papers to survive and this pandemic has made it even harder.
“Keeping staff employed and able to cover all the angles of life needs you all to buy the paper and to keep it informed with those stories.
“We all learn so much about each other from the local press and it helps us all understand each other, and see how we all get along together.
“It has especially helped us appreciate the fantastic response during this current crisis.
“We have seen how everyone is supporting our NHS and key workers and how so many others have all contributed so positively.
“All this as we, and the local press, also remember that many have lost loved ones or have family or friends currently struggling with Covid 19 - and our thoughts are with them.
“However, let’s see all of us ensuring we know all these local stories and let’s see it in this paper over the next few weeks.
“Support your Antrim Guardian.”
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