DON’T beat around the bush. Get straight to the point.

Sound advice for journalists everywhere when delivering the news, good or bad.

I am delivering both today, but I will start with the bad: the price of your Herald is to increase to 70p from next week.

This is a substantial rise and will not be greeted with wild celebrations across south Oxfordshire.

Times are tough and I am fully aware that for some readers, this may be an added cost too far.

But please bear with me while I explain the background to the decision and the benefits that will flow from it.

Our industry has been clobbered in recent years by the impact of the Internet and the worst economic downturn in living memory.

The result has been hundreds of job losses on local and regional papers, an approximate 50 per cent drop in the advertising revenues which effectively subsidised local journalism and gloomy predictions from industry ‘experts’ that the printed newspaper is doomed.

It is easy to see why they believe that. If the industry had kept on cutting costs to offset declining income, then a slow death would surely have followed.

That is why we have had to face some hard facts and make some tough decisions.

Local papers will not die. They will continue to do the job they are there for: to hold those in power to account, facilitate debate and provide the most thorough and up-to-date local news and information service possible, in print and online.

However, we need to fund the journalists, feature writers and photographers who make that possible and charge what we consider a fair and realistic price for the service we offer.

That is why we are increasing the price of the Herald. But the good news is that from next week, your paper will be bigger, brighter and easier to read than before.

The Herald has undergone a redesign, more reporters have been assigned to cover the vibrant towns and villages in the area and there will be more news, features, leisure and sports coverage.

We have made the paper easier to navigate, launched a new leisure section, a local history feature and — over coming weeks — columnists from all the towns across south Oxfordshire will be writing about local life from their point of view.

There will also be more competitions and offers, starting with the chance to win a share of £1,000 cash each week during July. More details are available here.

If we could do all that and hold the price of the paper as it is, we would. But the financial structure of our industry has changed irrevocably and the overwhelming priority is to ensure your local newspaper survives and thrives, for this and future generations.

It’s a big leap, I accept, but the Herald will still cost no more than a bar of chocolate and it will be a whole lot better for you.

I believe that 70p is a reasonable price to pay to secure and strengthen the local news service in your area for the long term.

I hope you agree, but whatever your view, I would be happy to hear it.

You are welcome to contact me via email.