Thursday, 27 November 2008

Will the Government have to bail out regional press and prove Rusbridger right?

When the editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger suggested earlier this month that state intervention may be needed to save regional papers from closing and the country losing an important part of the democratic process there weren't many takers. Most of the people attending the Society of Editors conference in Bristol thought it was a non-starter. Since then the news out of the regional press has got bleaker and bleaker. Hundreds of jobs are being lost and closures coming ever closer. So interesting to see a piece today by Peter Kirwan, who writes on financial matters on the Press Gazette website, headed: Anyone up for nationalizing Johnston Press? Peter floats the scenario of the Royal Bank of Scotland, soon to be 60 per cent owned by the Government, taking control of Johnston Press. He asks: "Just got used to the idea of HM Government owning banks? What about the prospect of banks owning newspaper publishers? Or, more properly: the prospect of HM Government owning banks that in turn own newspaper publishers?" Intriguing.

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