NEXT week, you will see exciting changes to the Bury Times as we introduce a bigger, more comprehensive newspaper, with much more local news pages, letters, features, comment and sport.

Inside the bumper redesigned edition there will also be a leisure pull-out, ‘Weekend’. It will include interviews with local celebrities and Bury people with interesting stories to tell, a look at Bury in days past, cinema reviews, cookery, gardening, fashion, walks, a fantastic page of puzzles and comprehensive listings detailing what to do and where to go in your spare time.

Two new reporters, Tui Benjamin and Andrew Bardsley, have been recruited to boost the editorial team and they want to hear from you about what is going on in your area.

You can get in touch with Tui and Andrew by email: and or by telephone, 01204 537254, or 01204 537255.

This investment in content, staff and pages follows a series of reader focus groups organised to find out what you wanted to see in your local newspaper.

In the conversations we had at those groups, there were – quite rightly – passionate and strongly held views expressed about the Bury Times.

One message came across loud and clear — the reason our loyal readers are so vocal about the Bury Times, which celebrates 158 years of publication in 2013, is because you care deeply about it and place a high value on it.

That is why I wanted to share our plans for change and improvement.

It is no secret that the past few years have been tough for regional newspapers.

Traditional advertising platforms which effectively subsidised quality local journalism have taken a massive hit during the economic downturn.

This, combined with the digital information revolution, which has meant that anyone, anywhere can access news in many different formats at a time to suit them has led to the audience becoming more fragmented.

We have decided to face up to that harsh reality and from next week you will see significant investment in the newspaper. However, this comes at an extra cost.

As a result the Bury Times will be increasing its cover price to £1 from next week, using much of the price rise to fund this major investment.

We want to continue to produce a high quality and comprehensive news service for the Bury community and I believe that the extra pages, more comprehensive news and features in the new-look Bury Times represents excellent value for money.

I would like to say a big thank you to all our loyal readers who have remained with us during these tough times and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks with your comments about your bigger and better Bury Times.