THIS week is Journalism Matters Week and today is Trusted News Day. Here at The Bolton News we believe local journalism matters for everyone. Here’s why . . .

HERE at The Bolton News we receive telephone calls from members of the public every day.

Sometimes the caller complains that a story we have published in print and online is ‘nothing to do with you’.

We always take the time to explain what a newspaper is for and if it is something to do with the people of Bolton, it is very much 'something to do with us'.

This is why:

A newspaper is a ‘document of record’, there as a record of what has happened in the town today, this week, this month, this year: quite literally, to tell the readers ‘the news’.

It holds the town’s elected representatives and public servants to account . . .  we send reporters to council meetings, we pay close attention to planning applications, to minutes of meetings, so that what is said and done in the name of voters is there for everyone to see.

It tells readers what has been done to hold ordinary people to account . . . we have a court reporter who writes stories about who has been through the courts, what they have done wrong and what sentence they have had to face.

The newspaper is a means for people to share good news, somewhere to celebrate the achievements of people, organisations and businesses of people across the town.

It also has a right and responsibility to campaign and to add weight to other campaigns by giving them publicity.

These are all the role of a free and fair press that people who live in a free democracy value and need to cherish and support if they wish to preserve it.

The digital revolution and the advent of the internet has presented the regional printed press with challenges that have been well documented in the past few years.

Despite the difficulties we have faced, in common with newspapers all over the country, we think we do a pretty good job of fulfilling all of those responsibilities of a free and fair press.

In the past year alone we have run a campaign to encourage the people of Bolton to ‘Shop Local’, with stories and profiles about local traders, why they should be valued and supported by shoppers.

Recently appointed editor, Karl Holbrook has been keen to encourage reporters to investigate and report more deeply on issues that affect people in Bolton . . . so we have introduced special reports.

These have covered important matters such as homelessness, poverty, debt, planning, the development of the town centre, issues facing local businesses, the preservation of the town’s heritage, the ongoing battle to improve Bolton’s trains, the university, the hospital, the town’s doctors’ surgeries, the battle to save Wanderers, to name but a few.

We are proud of the coverage we give to council and the courts.

The Bolton News is part of the BBC-funded local democracy reporting scheme, which was introduced with the sole intention of holding local councils to account.

Joseph Timan is Bolton’s dedicated local democracy reporter. He keeps Bolton Council under scrutiny. He has written several special reports about the events at Bolton Council over the past eight months and his stories about the change of administration at Bolton Council last week were shared by news outlets across the whole of Greater Manchester.

Our dedicated court reporter Joanne Rowe has more than 30 years experience in local newspapers. She organises our court reporting and makes sure we cover as many crown court cases as possible.

In February this year, thanks to her tenacity, The Bolton News won a 19-month-long legal battle to name a paedophile who had fought to keep his name secret.

Rocky Knight had admitted possessing and distributing indecent images of children but did not want anyone to know about his crime, claiming he would face retribution from fellow members of the traveller community.

The newspaper, believing in the principle of open justice, opposed him being granted anonymity at 22 hearings before a judge finally rejected Knight’s attempt to remain unnamed.

As well as the serious business of court and council reporting, putting justice and democracy in the spotlight, The Bolton News is here to celebrate all that is good about our town, why people like living here, why they have made it their home and why they are glad to do business here.

To that end,14 years ago we set up our annual business awards celebration. And this year is no exception. Next week is the deadline for entries to the competition and in September we will host the glittering ceremony. There will be 15 awards categories, sponsored by other businesses and chief sponsor, Bolton Council. So while we’re on the subject, if you haven’t entered your business for the awards yet, there’s still time!

You might have noticed that every day in our print edition, we like to carry a good news story on Page 3.

So if you have good news to share, about your business, your school, your volunteer group, or your family, get in touch with us. You can contact us through the website, on our Facebook page, by Twitter, by email on or just call us on 01204 537271.