LOCAL newspapers are a trusted source and good journalism has the power to unite communities.

That's the verdict of Northumberland National Park Authority's chief executive, Tony Gates, who is the latest leading figure to back this week's Journalism Matters campaign.

Run by the News Media Association – an organisation which represents the voice of national, regional and local news brands – the campaign is a platform for news media titles across the industry to remind readers and local residents about the importance of local journalism in a democratic society.

Mr Gates said: "The Hexham Courant is often the first port of call for local news and information, for those who live, work and visit the Northumberland National Park.

"Local newspapers are a trusted source, written with integrity and when done well, local journalism has the power to unite communities.

"It is important that people in the wider area have access to papers like the Hexham Courant as a platform through which they can be heard and a vehicle which helps connect them to the wider community."

His comments follow support from newly-elected North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, Hexham's MP Guy Opperman and Rector of Hexham, Canon Dagmar Winter.

Hexham Courant editor, Gemma Brown, said: "This week has given many of us in the industry a chance to pause and remember why we do what we do.

"And a chance to remind people that local newspapers continue to ensure people feel connected, know what is happening on their patch and continue to hold those in power to account.

"In the latest edition of the Hexham Courant we highlight the concerns of older people facing the prospect of losing their homes, outline the facts about the upcoming European elections, look at what is being done to secure the future of Hexham's vital Post Office service, and recognise the achievements of a long-serving firefighter.

"Local newspapers really are a force for good."