South Wales Argus

The South Wales Argus is at the heart of the communities we serve in Newport and Gwent. This year marked our 130th birthday, an occasion that brought home how embedded we are.

When I meet people they often tell me how they are personally connected to the Argus, from delivering it when growing up to having family members who worked here. That sense of being a part of something was never stronger than our 130th anniversary this year. The tributes from politicians, businesspeople and readers showed just how much this newspaper means to them. To evidence our entry for the reporting communities award, I have highlighted three initiatives. For our newsroom in the community initiative, we asked organisations to invite us to come and base the newsroom with them for the day. We choose a submission from Cefn Fforest, a small town near Blackwood in the Gwent Valleys. We spent the day based in the community centre, holding a drop-in session which resulted in an article about the town’s eco park, as well as visiting the team working to restore the local miners’ institute. Our reporters used the opportunity to visit nearby Blackwood and picked up stories from visiting businesses in the high street. Cefn Fforest is just one community in our patch, but by taking the newsroom to them, it helps the team to understand not just that one town, but others like it that we write about. We are in discussions to stage a second newsroom in the community day soon, when I hope to also incorporate talking to a local school about opportunities in journalism. The Newport: Our City series, launched at the start of 2022, gave us a platform to look beyond the hard news and crime that is a staple our of pages at some of the community projects and issues. Examples included a focus on the thriving high street of Commercial Road, an area of Newport more commonly associated with the red light district and anti-social behaviour issues, and a feature on a thriving dance school set up in an old pub. Finally, the Argus organises awards events throughout the year, celebrating the achievements of local people. This includes the Schools Awards, Pride of Gwent Community Awards and the Health & Care Awards. This year’s South Wales Health & Care Awards was a wonderful example of why we do it, with nurse Janet Clay receiving a standing ovation when she was given the Outstanding Achievement Award following her 52 years of service to the NHS. These are just three examples of the role we play reporting and being a part of our communities. This isn’t an optional extra to our work, it’s central to it. We need to grow our audience and page views to ensure the newsroom is financially sustainable. These initiatives help us to build trust that is essential to that, and at the very core of our purpose as a local news service.