Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Gilligan on London's council 'newspapers'

Andrew Gilligan has in the Evening Standard turned his fire on London's local council newspaper-style publications in an article called The Propaganda Newspapers.
It is well worth a read and applies to many other parts of the country where council papers are seen as a growing threat to the local press.
Two parts of the article stand out.
Gilligan claims: "Across London, official council newspapers now employ around 120 people. When council press officers, who actually write much of the content of most papers, are included, the figure rises to 360. The total number of editorial staff on independent local newspapers in London, much-diminished after a series of cuts, is around 350."
He also quotes Tower Hamlets' head of commercial operations, Chris Payne, from a presentation in Sheffield , setting out the philosophy behind the newspaper-style publications.
Gilligan writes: "Many independent local papers, he (Payne) said, "churn out a negative diet of crime and grime, often attacking their local council and generally creating a negative impression". Council papers, by contrast, "help create a positive place-shaping agenda, talking up an area and its residents' achievements, celebrating diversity and opportunity for all".

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