Thursday, 5 March 2009

Barking editor mad at council's 'stab in the back' newspaper launch against local press

I'm at Press Gazette again today. But here I've done a story about Chris Carter, editor of the Barking and Dagenham Recorder, who is furious that the local council has pulled its advertising from the local press and is putting it into its own "newspaper-style" fortnightly publication.
The publication, The News, from the Barking & Dagenham Council will have a staff of eight and compete for local commercial advertising. Carter describes it as "a stab in the back" by the council.
Newspaper-style publications being published by local authorities is a trend that is worrying the local press across the country.
Roy Greenslade has also done a post about the story here.


Martin Belam said...

The question for me is can they turn that around cheaper than placing ads in the local paper? If they can, then you have to ask whether council tax money should be used to subsidise a more inefficient method of getting the message across. If they can't, it is another matter entirely.

Jon Slattery said...

Martin thanks for your comment. The question for me is not about value for money but who is going to keep an independent eye on local councils.
I don't believe that council-owned newspapers can be independent. Rather than highlighting stories about the impact of budget cuts they will stress what a good job the council is doing.

Modernise or die said...


I'm afraid you miss a few points.

The local editor states that the council has stabbed his paper "in the back".

Is this the same paper that often attacks the council for wasting money - yet when they save money by putting their advertising in their own paper, the local rag is up in arms. Hypocrites.

Is this the same paper that expects the council to hand over 1000s of pounds each year for advertising, despite the fact it is often stabbed in the front (let alone the back) by the paper that is now worried that it is going to lose income.

And who do you actually think is benefitting from councils printing more regular copies? Who do you think on the whole print their publications - yes you've guessed it local newspaper groups. Just check the imprints. Hypocrites.

And lets not forget that if losing income from local councils means it is a case of make or break for these local newspapers they really do need to revisit their business models.

Or perhaps learn a thing or two from the local council newspapers who are starting to deliver their own papers at nil cost to local residents by saving on exhorbitant advertising costs in local independent media.