Local newspapers are facing a big challenge but readers can help us overcome it.

Dear reader

Have you heard the phrase ‘news desert’? It’s been coined in America to describe what is left behind when a newspaper closes down and the community it served is suddenly left without a source of credible and comprehensive news and information.

You can guess what happens next in those places when the vital scrutiny that a campaigning, investigative local newspaper provides is gone; when no-one is there to shine a light on that which is hidden from the public.

We are determined that North Devon will never become a news desert - and we need your help to stop it happening.

That’s why we are asking you to give your financial support to our work. You can contribute any amount you like, as a one-off or a recurring contribution.

Why are we asking this now?

More of you are reading the North Devon Gazette than ever before, and increasingly that is on your mobile phones, tablets and laptops rather than in print.

We’re delighted to serve so many of you - but please understand that trusted journalism costs money to produce, and the money we make from digital page views is a fraction of that from paper sales.

Our advertising revenues have also been hit by the tech giants, many of whom pay little or no tax here.

Still, we are determined to continue to keep fighting for you and our area.

We highlighted the new Seamoor Unit for cancer patients opening at North Devon District Hospital after a £2.2m appeal, which was hugely championed by this title.

Each year, we run Light Up a Life – an annual appeal run exclusively by the Gazette in support of the region’s two hospices. Each year it raises around £35,000-40,000.

We have cover news across the area from Hartland in the west to Lynton in the east and to South Molton and Holsworthy in the south.

So please help us with a contribution to supporting award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Every single gesture of support will help us make sure (area) does not become a news desert.

Thank you

Andrew Coley