SOMEONE once said to me that not having the local newspaper every week was like not having your dinner.
Thankfully, after 130 years of faithful publication, The Echo has never missed a deadline, unlike many dinners I may have missed!
That sums it up for me, and for many thousands of loyal readers, who rely on their local newspaper to be a strong voice for their community, whilst promoting the social, cultural, economic, educational, sporting and agricultural life of their home city and county.
As President of Local Ireland, the representative body for 42 regional newspapers in Ireland, I wish to congratulate The Echo on achieving such a milestone anniversary: 130 years of continuous publication is a considerable achievement and worthy of major celebration.
The Echo has constantly responded to the needs and potential of Cork in those intervening years and is a fascinating record of social, cultural and economic changes recorded over time.
The people of Cork take great pride in their own - their sporting heroes, their stout, their tea… and their local paper.
That’s why the cry of ‘Echo’ on the streets is so synonymous with the Rebel City - and why that evocative statue of the Echo Boy takes pride of place on Patrick Street.
The Echo is Cork’s paper because it focuses on the local; the same agenda that serves our own Local Ireland publications so well.
If you want to know what’s going on in Cork - in politics, sport, music, theatre, or just the minutiae of everyday life - The Echo is, and always has been, your one-stop shop.
Its high standard of responsible journalism and continuous commitment to championing social causes in Cork and the wider area is testament to the tenacity, determination, and dedicated skills of all the men and women who have worked in The Echo over its lifetime.
Local Ireland believes there is continued strong demand and passion for the printed product in rural Ireland.
Our readers overwhelmingly view a printed copy of their newspaper as an essential service for their community.
Regional audiences are loyal and develop life-long patterns of engaging with local newspapers in areas where they live and work or have a sense of connection.
The local paper also contributes to a functioning regional democracy and creates a shared sense of community.
Local newspapers also provide a high level of essential public service news coverage including court, city and county councils, health board and joint policing committee meetings.
The growth of fake news and misinformation raises serious concerns about where we can source truthful, accurate accounts on all the issues that shape our lives.
We must continue to provide the public with fact-based, professionally-produced journalism and that requires significant investment and resources to ensure that public service journalism is supported across all media equally.
The last decade has been marked by dramatic changes in the pattern of media consumption and a consequent change in advertising models.
All local newspapers have pivoted to a certain extent to digital platforms and have increased their readership reach and engagement significantly.
Interest in news, across combined print and digital platforms, from the general public has never been greater, but trustworthy content costs money to produce and the continuing importance of local newspapers being able to connect with and inform people and communities is a challenge for every newspaper publisher.
The Echo, over the past 130 years, has faithfully demonstrated the importance of building community spirit and championing constructive journalism which helps to hold a community together whilst challenging it to change in a creative manner.
We congratulate you on your 130th anniversary.