The Government is calling a summit on the future of the regional media following meetings on Wednesday with the NUJ, Newspaper Society and Society of Editors.
Junior culture minister Barbara Follett made the announcement during a debate in the House of Commons yesterday.
The NUJ said the idea had been put forward to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham by NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and members of the union’s parliamentary group at a meeting on Wednesday.
Other sources say the summit was Burnham's idea and was discussed with representatives of the Newspaper Society prior to the meeting to the NUJ.
Regional publishers are said to want the summit to win support for the relaxing of the merger regime and to stop local councils launching newspaper-style publications that take public sector ads away from local papers.
Dear said: “The meeting with Andy Burnham was very constructive and I am delighted that our suggestion has been picked up so quickly. Journalists on regional papers, TV, radio and websites are losing their jobs every day. Papers are closing, local offices are being boarded up.
“The government summit must involve journalists, media owners, and community and co-operative groups. It must actively consider all options for the future of local media.”