Local press in Ireland is trusted and is an essential element in the plurality of media required in a properly functioning democracy, according to Ireland’s digital ambassador Lord David Putnam, key note speaker at the annual conference of the Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland (RNPAI).
Speaking in Rosscarbery, Co. Cork last week, the former film producer of such classic notables as The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Heroes and Chariots of Fire, made an impassioned plea for local newspapers to take on corruption in their communities and called for stronger editorials to provide the lead in securing sustainable local communities throughout the country.
The conference and annual general meeting was attended by senior management figures representing over 40 local newspapers throughout the 26 counties and was hosted by the Southern Star, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Sean Mahon, President (RNPAI) and Chief Executive Officer, Southern Star, welcomed the first tentative signs of economic recovery in rural Ireland. Referring to the relevance of local press in local communities, he said that the recent intense interaction, both editorially and commercially, between local newspapers and local and national politicians epitomised the importance of local press in informing and influencing local communities on important issues.
Mr. Mahon, whilst acknowledging the recent declines in newspapers circulations worldwide, pointed out that declines in local press were below the average. He emphasised that RNPAI members were now multi-platform media organisations providing content in print, online and mobile and were well positioned for a solid future.
The Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland, founded in 1919, will be launching a new promotional brand in mid-June.