Dear Sir Ray
Having lived in Enfield for almost 50 years, and been heavily involved as a volunteer in the local community for the past 12 since I retired, I am most concerned to hear of the difficulties facing your most conscientious staff at the Enfield Advertiser.
As a former journalist myself – I am a former industrial editor of the Daily Mail and news reporter of the year in the 1972 British Press Awards – I do have some personal knowledge of the time and personal commitment needed to produce a good newspaper. And it is because I respect your dedication to preserving local newspapers that I am most surprised to hear that the staffing at your group of North London newspapers is being cut so deeply as to make it virtually impossible for journalists to produce a newspaper of which they can be proud.
I write to you now as the president of the Over 50s Forum in Enfield – the largest voluntary organisation in the Borough with more than 3,500 individual subscribing members and more than 60 affiliated voluntary organisations – to ask you to consider the importance to the local community of having a local newspaper that is an independent voice that truly reflects our diverse interests.To produce a newspaper that is no more than an advertising free sheet will destroy the hard won reputation the Enfield Advertiser has achieved for being informative and objective and will, I suggest, in the long run be counter-productive because it will lose its respected status in the community.
I do, of course, appreciate that your advertising income is almost certainly reduced at this difficult economic time, but surely this ought to be the moment when you invest for the longer term – and invest in the people who give the newspaper its special identity. Journalists are the lifeblood of your newspapers Sir Ray and so I urge you to tell us that you will strengthen the staffing in this part of North London, to ensure that we will continue to have strong community based newspapers speaking for local people.
Monty Meth MBE
President, Enfield Over 50s Forum