Rebecca Armstrong: Lovely local papers show signs of a comeback

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I love my local paper, the Camden New Journal

I love that it keeps me up to date with what's going on in my area (the traffic wardens are revolting – well, they ought to be, their wages are terrible and they get grief every other minute of the day; a tiny nameless street round the corner from my house has finally been given a name after years of confused postmen and firemen; Virgin Active – boo, hiss – has pulled out of sponsoring a charity run).

I love the ads and announcements in the back for useful services and for things that make my heart break – poems from the bereaved about loved ones, the opening hours of the "Good Night, Sweet Dreams" service, where people who don't have anyone to say goodnight to can ring up for a bed-time chat.

Whenever I go home to see my family, I always get sucked into the latest copy of the Kent Messenger, a brilliant local paper that covers the area where I grew up and has the most hilarious cute kids competitions (The names! The hairstyles! The pierced ears on the six-month-olds!) as well as hard-hitting news that often make it into the nationals (that goes for the CNJ too – I always feel a glow of pride when one of its stories gets picked up).

But despite my one-woman love in with local papers, they're folding at a terrifying rate. Whatever you think of Louise Mensch's politics, she stood up to be counted earlier this year when the Corby edition of the Northampton Evening Telegraph went from daily to weekly. She wants the Government to step in to subsidise local papers. She's not the only big-name fan of local news – Warren Buffett, business behemoth, investor and all-round clever sticks has a thing for local newspapers, owning 63 of them and acquiring more regularly.

MPs and billionaires aside, though, two cheering glimmers of local-paper hope have caught my eye in the last few weeks. The first is that The Kentish Towner ( a hyper-local news website I'm a huge fan of because a) it's brilliant and b) I live in Kentish Town, has just won funding from the innovations charity Nesta so it can increase its scope. Given that it has already given me top tips for tens of restaurants and local services, plus great articles about the area, I'm thrilled it's set to expand. In a similar vein, the has recently gone from online only to having its own paper edition, the Brixton Bugle (@Brixton_Bugle).

From tiny acorns, I hope great local oaks grow. I wish both the very best of luck.

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