FOR almost 90 years the Oxford Mail has had a regular place on coffee tables and in work canteens across the county.

Since its first edition in 1928, its design and shape may have changed, but the focus remains firmly on delivering trusted and accurate news to its readership.

That means being at the heart of the community and capturing everything from the heartbreaking disasters to the most precious moments of success.

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As well as playing a role in promoting local campaigns, underpinning local democracy, the paper acts as a watchdog holding local and national organisations to account.

Former Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “We are very fortunate to have kept in Oxford a daily paper of the quality of the Oxford Mail.

“Its reporting is a crucial resource for the whole community, both for in-depth local news and in holding public services, businesses and politicians to account.”

A local newspaper acts as a voice for the community and with a focus currently on tackling fake news, the Oxford Mail is backing the national campaign.

The Oxford Mail works hard to act as a voice for its readership and this is exactly what Local Newspaper Week is all about. When an issue matters to our readers, we listen and seek to do what we can together to bring about change.

Oxford Mail managing editor Sara Taylor said: “Local Newspaper Week is a celebration of all that papers such as the Oxford Mail do in making a difference within the communities they serve.

“Whatever happens and matters to you in your neighbourhoods, also matters to us. We live here too. And we’re proud to make a difference with our coverage and keeping you informed – whether that is reporting from the courts to show justice is being served or holding public figures to account.”

A lot of what we do involves campaigning and this year the paper has been nominated for the Making a Difference Award in the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards, which will be held on Friday.

This follows the Oxford Mail Drive for Justice campaign sparked by the heart-breaking stories of families who got in touch about the often lenient penalties dished out to dangerous drivers.

The most notable case included the family of four killed by lorry driver Tomasz Kroker when he was driving an HGV on the A34 on August 10, 2016, whilst on his phone.

Judges have praised our effort in giving readers, authorities and MPs a wake-up call and helping to put pressure on the Government to change the law as well as working locally with Thames Valley Police.

Readers can vote for this campaign during Local Newspaper Week, which is being held as a celebration of high quality, trusted local journalism in the run up to the general election on June 8.

The regional awards are a culmination of the great role newspapers still hold within many communities up and down the country.

“Despite the inevitable shift towards more of an online presence across all local journalism, newspapers still remain firmly at the heart of the community and somewhere for readers to turn to turn to for accurate, balanced and informative news.

A key aspect of making changes in the local community and holding organisations to account often comes through crime, community campaigns and Freedom of Information requests.

But there is also great importance placed on local journalism to deliver community news of local success, community group achievements and educational milestones.

The Oxford Mail works hard to listen to its readers whether it be about education, politics, health, crime or personal stories and put this diverse range of topics across as balanced as possible in print.

Oxford Spires Academy principal Sue Croft said: “It is really important for a community to have a local newspaper like the Oxford Mail.

“A community needs a shared identity and that is partly through celebrating many great views through the local newspaper.

“Certainly local newspapers like the Oxford Mail have helped bring about change, because it has such a broad readership. It’s an important way of empowering people to make a difference in their won communities.”

What is Local Newspaper Week? 

LOCAL Newspaper Week celebrates high quality, trusted local journalism in the community and this year runs from May 15 to May 21.

It is an initiative staged by the local newspaper industry and is a chance for newspapers to celebrate the important job they have in a community. Not least, to celebrate why they do it. This year the focus for the week is firmly on trusted content, fighting fake news and how newspapers can make a difference by campaigning for local causes on behalf of their readers.

There are 28 campaigns nominated this year for the Making a Difference awards category, including the Oxford Mail Drive for Justice campaign for harsher penalties for dangerous drivers, and the winner will be announced at the Regional Press Awards on Friday.