Like all the regional press, this local newspaper has always set the highest ethical standards.
We are committed to serving our community with honesty, integrity and sensitivity – while never being afraid to tackle injustice with uncompromising vigour.
We take a tough line in holding local decision-makers to account. Ensuring that the public interest is properly served by those politicians who seek to serve you is fundamental to our role.
But we are here to protect the innocent and vulnerable as well.
That is why we have always gone out of our way not to identify children in contentious stories, and to avoid intruding into people’s private lives unless there was an overwhelming reason for us to do so that best served the interests of our community.
Reporting people’s news accurately and in context without the need to resort to sensationalism is also second nature to the way we have always operated.
We invest heavily in editorial training through the National Council for the Training of Journalists – and getting our stories right, telling them in the right way, and treating you with respect, are critical to this.
Of course, with the best will in the world, occasionally we make a mistake.
Until now, we have been regulated by the Press Complaints Commission and committed ourselves to its code of conduct, which is designed to ensure we meet the highest standards of accuracy and respect for those whose stories we report.
From this week, the commission has been replaced by a new regulator – the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) – and we welcome and support it.
Ipso has been established as a result of the Leveson inquiry into press standards following the phone hacking scandal at a national tabloid, the now-closed News of the World.
Although Leveson found the local press had done nothing wrong, he called for a new regulatory body to be established by the industry which would provide genuinely independent regulation of its members.
If you believe we ever fall short of the high standards we set and have breached the code of conduct, then you should contact Ipso at www.ipso.co.uk.
Its address is Independent Press Standards Organisation, c/o Halton House, 20-23 Holborn, London, EC1N 2JD, telephone 0300 123 2220.
We will always strive to resolve complaints fairly and will fully support the involvement and adjudications of Ipso as part of that process.