Slugger Awards 2008: Local newspaper…

Local newspapers are the political life blood of any community and one of the few ways that communities have of finding out what’s being done their name. Good local newspapers are becoming hard to find and proprietors look for ways of cutting corners. We looked for papers still prepared provide a valuable public service to their communities. And the winner is…Winner: Impartial Reporter.

There’s an old saying amongst Donegal hacks that runs, ‘the Impartial Reporter is as a impartial as the Donegal Democrat is democratic’. No newspaper can ever quite live up to the Impartial’s promise, but it is the quintessence of a well run and increasingly highly regarded local newspaper which does. Feedback from Slugger readers suggests that the paper has made successful efforts to reach across the divide in Fermanagh, and gives strong coverage of politics where it is often at its most powerful, locally.

Commended: North Belfast News.

One of a group of titles serving various parts of Belfast, they were considered to have provide an important service both in terms of reporting community stories with a strong presence of reporters on the ground, and in the fair way they give coverage to parties across the community divide.

Commended: Newry Democrat.

The smaller of two Newry titles the Democrat was praised for highlighting issues that matter to the local community. It gives serious consideration to local politics and have been involved in campaigns to increase Ambulance cover for rural areas, and one of the few larger group papers still investing in real reporting in a local context.