Your Paper, Your Voice - Help shape the future of our newspapers and websites

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The EADT and Ipswich Star are seeking the views of readers - Credit: Archant

This week feels like a new start. The easing of lockdown, more places reopening, and the chance for a much-needed change of scenery. It's an opportunity to look at things afresh.

The last year has been a time of reflection - we've probably all reassessed aspects of our lives, thought long and hard about what our priorities are, and how we want them to change in the future.

At the EADT and Ipswich Star, we are using the moment to turn the spotlight on ourselves. 

We want to know what you think of our newspapers and websites in 2021 - and what they should be like in the future. 

It's four years since we last carried out research like this.

From this Friday, and lasting for a week, we will publish the Your Paper, Your Voice survey online and in the newspapers, encouraging you to give your views.

We will be asking you what we do right, what we do wrong, what you'd like to see more/less of, and where you would like to see changes and improvements.

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And our pledge is to listen and learn from that, and publish the results.

Of course, since we last did this, the newspaper industry has continued to change at a rapid pace. 

The convenience and accessibility of online news means it is easier for us to reach more people with our content. In fact, we have more readers across all our platforms than at any time in our 146-year history.

Our online audience is growing rapidly - the EADT now has more than 1million 'unique visitors' every month. That's hundreds of thousands more than four years ago. 

We also remain proud of our printed newspapers, which are an important part of our future. Reading a newspaper remains a great experience - for those moments you discover something new, hear an opinion that challenges your own, or read a story you want to talk to a friend about.

But we know we are not perfect, and a two-way conversation with you is an important part of understanding what you want in the future.

The one thing that hasn't changed in the last four years is the need for trusted journalism. In fact, with so much misinformation online, the need has never been greater - journalism that matters, that holds power to account, shines a light on amazing things that happen here, and makes a positive difference to the communities we serve.

In my view, we achieve those things - but do you agree? If not, what could we do better?

We have dozens of journalists covering life in Suffolk and north Essex - no other local media organisation invests so much in journalism in this area. 

Star fronts

The EADT and Ipswich Star are seeking the views of readers - Credit: Archant

We are passionate about the communities we serve, you've seen this most recently during the pandemic. We launched the Home But Not Alone campaign last year to help people during the Covid crisis, and partnered with the Suffolk Community Foundation to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Surviving Winter appeal - helping people heat their homes when they can't afford it.

And we've backed local business - whether it be our Shop Local initiative, or the Fightback East campaign, which is calling for Government investment and support in our region.

Yet these are testing times for our industry. Our journalism costs money to produce, and the money we make from digital page views is a fraction of that from paper sales, while advertising revenues have also been hit by the tech giants and internet.

So we want to make every story count, and deliver newspapers and websites you really value and want to read on a regular basis.

We are determined to keep fighting for you and our area. If you can spare five minutes, please take the Your Paper, Your Voice survey later this week, and help us shape the future of the EADT and Ipswich Star. We want to hear your views - thank you.

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This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

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