Local newspapers to remain central

Cathaoirleach of LCC Mary Sweeney greets President Michael D. Higgins at the opening ceremony at the 2013 National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo
They say all politics is local and the same rings true when we think of the Leinster Express, writes Cllr Mary Sweeney, Cathaoirleach Laois County Council

They say all politics is local and the same rings true when we think of the Leinster Express, writes Cllr Mary Sweeney, Cathaoirleach Laois County Council

“We can say that all press is local too. The importance of a local newspaper in a social media and internet driven age should not be understated.

In the internet era there is considerable satisfaction in picking up the newspaper each week and sifting through the local news, ranging from councillors duelling with each other in the council chamber to picture specials from recent social events or the sports results from the previous weekend.

For me the local notes remain an important component of what a local paper should be about. The success of any local paper should be dependent on the reader picking up the paper and finding out the latest news from their own community.

Similarly the photographs, which are always of an excellent quality, provide great excitement within a household if you have been “papped” at a recent social event. However these photos are important in that they will in future provide valuable research data for local history enthusiasts.

We make the assumption these days that everyone has access to an iPad or laptop, however in reality there still remains a big constituency who don’t care whether Twitter or Facebook are providing the latest news updates.

As a librarian I encounter many people who are still fascinated by the joys of the printed word, both in book and newspaper form. On a daily basis we facilitate many people who come into our library in Portlaoise to read the local and national papers, magazines and of course books.

Let’s not forget that for many emigrants in previous times, the copy of the local paper which was posted from home was an invaluable link to keep them in contact with home, I love reading so one of the simple pleasures for me is relaxing with the newspapers and a cup of tea at any time of the day.

The newspaper is an important social outlet for those who may live alone and in some cases their world exists within the pages of the Leinster Express.

When my own teenagers returned from college each Friday the first question asked upon arrival was always “Did you get the Leinster?” Ten years on that hasn’t changed!

I have no doubt that despite the technological advances we experience on a daily basis the local newspaper for the local man or woman will remain central to every community. Long may it continue.”