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The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) launched a “Local News Matters” campaign on 24 March 2017. The campaign “aims to reclaim a vital, vigorous press that is at the heart of the community it serves and is owned and operated in the public interest”. It demands:

  • A short, sharp, national, parliamentary inquiry into the state of local news
  • Local papers should be treated as community assets
  • New rules to prevent local media outlets from closing overnight – they should be offered to potential new owners, including local co-operatives, with the time available to submit a bid for alternative media ownership in advance of any closure
  • Action by government and employers to stem the relentless job cuts
  • Increasing investment, from a range of sources, for quality local journalism.

The NUJ website has further information and resources on the campaign.

An early day motion, tabled by Helen Goodman in support of the campaign, has received 27 signatures so far:

That this House celebrates the importance of quality local and regional news and whether provided online, by photographers, newspapers or local broadcasters; believes that access to local and regional news is essential to the quality of life, informed citizenship, and promotion of a flourishing of democracy in all our communities; recognises the challenges posed to the sustainability of local news provision; notes that a study by Press Gazette shows that over 300 local newspaper titles have closed over the past decade, with other titles reducing the frequency of publication; further notes that thousands of editorial roles have been lost, together with widespread reduction to the staffing levels associated with front­line reporters based in the community, picture desk editors and photographers; regrets the impact of moving the production of local news out of localities they serve which effects the quality of news coverage; and supports the National Union of Journalists’ Local News Matters campaign, which urges Government devolved bodies and local authorities, to take active steps to support sustainable investment in professional local and regional news provision online, in newspapers and on radio and television.

The Press Gazette website has news and analysis on regional press circulation and readership.

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