Iliffe Media

Kent Messenger

A fail-safe way to judge a local newspaper's relationship with its community is through the size of its mail bag.

And while times have changed, and that bag is now largely electronic, there's no doubting the Kent Messenger continues to have an unwavering bond with its readers. Hundreds of messages a week request the newsdesk give a voice to the voiceless, publicity for good deeds and help with holding authorities to account. The last 18 months has seen us shine a light on a number of issues, from exposing the scandal of high-rise flats with safety defects rendered 'unsellable' following the Grenfell tragedy, to keeping the pressure up on Kent County Council by detailing the human cost of cuts to 38 bus routes - a policy which is now on pause. Perhaps our biggest campaign, however, has been the relentless coverage of the increasing lawlessness of Maidstone town centre - something which a new multi-agency task-force has been set up to address. Our coverage combined news reports on the violence, statistical analysis and a first person piece of what the town is like after dark. Ours is a patch that found itself in the national spotlight following the shock guilty plea of bedsit murderer David Fuller and the exposure of his sickening mortuary crimes that followed. Yet our small team's dynamic and in-depth reporting rivalled that of any national. And while others' attention faded, the KM remains steadfast in its support for families of his victims and their battle for a fair, independent inquiry into the atrocities. That's not forgetting our exclusives: ● The mum speaking of her son's miracle recovery after a horror crash which killed four members of the same family ● The disgust of a murder victim's sister after learning the perpetrator had committed more violent crimes while on parole ● Recluse living among rubbish in AONB says life won’t be worth living if he’s forced to move ● Our discovery measures to tackle frequent sinkholes were being dropped for being too expensive ● A council ban on music at Jubilee street parties ● The mum who drove to Italy to get her nine-year-old daughter a Covid jab because she wasn’t eligible in the UK ● A banker who stole £50k from vulnerable customers ● A KM investigation which exposed the restaurants not displaying accurate food hygiene ratings ● A change in rules affordable housing rules meaning people were being priced out of the town centre ● The scourge of HMOs in the road where half the homes have been converted ● The night porter who caused £94k of damage to hotel he worked at explains why he lost it It's this commitment to campaigning and getting under the skin of the issues that matter that means the KM continues to garner strong reader loyalty and remains a byword for integrity in local journalism, at a time when trust has never been so important.