I'm very sorry to hear that Rob Lawson is leaving the Echo after ten years and that over 80 jobs may be lost when the print plant closes.
The media has come in for a lot of criticism in recent months, particularly at the Leveson Inquiry. But local newspapers are a different case altogether. They have a crucial role in our democracy, as well as providing vital news and information to the communities they serve.
Rob has been a strong ambassador for the city. Never afraid to speak out in the best interests of the area, but also proud and positive about what Wearside has to offer. He will be a big loss.
This article was originally published in the Sunderland Echo on 26th September 2012.