Letter from a reporter - we need you to help keep The Star in Sheffield

After 133 years serving Sheffield, it’s easy to think of The Star is an institution that will always be here.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 4:45 pm

But that isn’t the case - and I’m here to say we need you to subscribe to the thestar.co.uk urgently.

The paper has published the news, the sport and everything in between since 1887.

It’s staffed by people who love the job, care for the city and want to tell the truth about what’s going on.

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David Walsh

I’ve worked for The Star for 20 years and believe it is a force for good - just as much today as in the year 2000.

But while our aims and ideals haven’t changed, it’s time to face up to a hard truth and acknowledge, simply, that we are a business too.

And there are no magic beans to keep us going.

Reporters like me rarely, if ever, have to think about what makes The Star tick.

Our job is to unearth facts and write stories, not worry about income. But like so many organisations this year we have been hammered by the virus.

Sales of the paper have plunged because the shops have been shut. Advertising has plummeted because companies have been closed. That leaves me appealing to you to subscribe.

From just £1 a month initially (£7.99 per month after two months - or what I like to think of as the price of two takeaway coffees) you can be here for us and have ad-lite access to a faster-loading website with exclusive content including puzzles and access to the digital edition of the newspaper.

Producing the news costs money. Although we do it for the love, the reality is we need a salary to live. This may not bother you much.

But it’s always worth considering the flip side - Sheffield without The Star.

Imagine Sheffield City Council making all its decisions in private. Or not knowing what happened at the criminal courts. Or the people in power not being answerable to anyone. Or only hearing gossip about the football.

I think a proper newspaper is a key part of an self-respecting city.

That means trained journalists who sit through court cases, see justice done and share it with the public.

Council specialists who wade through pages of agendas and applications and jargon, and sit through endless meetings, to bring you the plans and decisions and controversies first hand.

Sports reporters who attend games up and down the country. Writers like me who ask questions and don’t simply reproduce propaganda and press releases.

And while we strive to bring you the facts because we believe in them, we are also beholden to a regulator.

You may get the impression, from the way national newspapers behave, that regulators can be ignored.

But that’s not true in local papers.

No reporter wants to go through the time and effort and the challenge to their reputation of an enquiry into a disputed story, and so we err on the side of caution and strive to give balance.

The rise of the internet only makes these high standards more important. An unchecked tsunami of content swamps webpages and social media every day.

And then there’s Covid. The Star has kept readers up to speed during this most difficult, tragic and confusing of years.

Through lockdowns and tiers, rising and falling infection rates, admissions and deaths, we have been the place to turn to - just as we have honoured and celebrated the wonderful and selfless and lifesaving work of the NHS.

We want Sheffield’s communities to flourish - we live here - and we want to be able to continue bringing you the best content and be #thereforyou.

I've never written a letter like this before. But now is the time. So if you can, please subscribe to thestar.co.uk and support locally-produced news.

I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected]

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star.

The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support.

Subscribe here www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.