Thursday, 15 January 2009

MSP repeats warning on how local press could lose out on Government advertising

Interesting interview on journalism.co.uk with MSP Ted Brocklebank in which he again outlines the danger to the press of losing vital Government and local authority advertising to state-owned websites.
Brocklebank first raised the matter in the Scottish Parliament in a debate about the reorganisation of the Herald newspapers. He mentioned trials being undertaken by local authorities in Scotland to put their ads on their own online sites rather than in local newspapers.
The MSP has submitted written questions asking how much the Scottish government currently spends on local newspaper advertising and how much is used on web advertising on local authority and government websites.
He tells journalism.co.uk's Judith Townend: "It seems to me that the government is moving away from placing recruitment ads with local and national newspapers, and from statutory and public notices. These are major parts of the income [for newspapers]. This is symptomatic of a much bigger thing.
"Governments are about saving money and it's very difficult to argue with that, but when it comes to statutory notices we think it's another thing. We think the public has a right to that information [via newspapers]."
Newspapers in the rest of the UK are also concerned that they might lose statutory advertising and public notices as well as recruitment ads from the Government and local authorities.
The MSP's comments comes on the day the Daily Mail & General Trust's annual report said of its regional newspaper arm Northcliffe: "The gloomy economic outlook points to extremely challenging conditions for our key advertising markets in the coming year".

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