Comment: Why the Herts Advertiser is still thriving after 160 years

The Herts Advertiser team on the newspaper's 160th birthday: photographer Danny Loo, reporter Sophie

The Herts Advertiser team on the newspaper's 160th birthday: photographer Danny Loo, reporter Sophie Crockett, news editor Madeleine Burton, chief reporter Debbie White, editor Matt Adams, reporter Taylor Geall and work experience student Charlotte Lancashire - Credit: Archant

160 years is a milestone anniversary for any business, but for a newspaper competing in today’s challenging media environment it is even more remarkable.

That the Herts Ad is not only thriving, but continues to evolve and develop in the face of continual changes in the way news is sourced and presented is testamount to our durability and flexibility.

Our longevity can be attributed to several factors, all of which combine to ensure the paper is a trusted and valued source of news.

We take nothing at face value. Unlike some newspapers, there is no cutting-and-pasting of press releases with the Herts Ad, and we pride ourselves on looking beyond the superficial to ensure we present the fullest possible version of any news story, taking into account all opposing sides and perspectives. Our idea of journalism goes beyond copying comments from social media or scaremongering for the sake of headlines.

Our reporters are committed solely to the Herts Ad. As the only newspaper based in St Albans, it goes without saying that we at the heart of the local community in a way no other media can offer.

Our staff don’t job-share with other titles, they are at the coalface of what’s happening in the district – you will find them at events, meetings and of course in the Herts Ad’s city centre offices – and they are always happy to talk to members of the public.

If we get something wrong, we’ll hold up our hands and apologise. People trust the Herts Advertiser, they have been reading it for years, they know its ethos and they can call it to account if it makes mistakes. How much trust can you place in a news blogger who does not have to be accountable legally, ethically or morally, and can disappear overnight at the click of a button?

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We break stories that really make a difference to people’s everyday lives, we help change local policy and we are the perfect platform for our community’s everyday heroes to get the recognition they deserve. In the words of St Albans MP Anne Main, “If it’s important for St Albans, you’ll find it in the Herts Ad.” We strive to bring our readers a thorough and in-depth picture of the week’s news in print and online, acting as both a paper of record and a source of information.

Over the years, the Herts Ad has been challenged by the advent of rival newspapers, local radio, bloggers and digital news sources, but we have not only weathered these storms, but we have come out stronger on the other side.

160 years is just the beginning. The Herts Advertiser isn’t going anywhere, and we look forward to celebrating further anniversaries in the years to come.