North East Lincolnshire Council proposals to withdraw all council advertisements from local media and instead place them in its own monthly newspaper have sparked heavy criticism from local residents, the Newspaper Society claims today.
It says the Grimsby Telegraph has published more than 20 letters from residents angry about the plans since reporting that the council was to review its advertising and marketing budget and consider removing all its advertising from independent local media.
The council had initially decided to shift all its advertising, largely recruitment, into its monthly Linc Up newspaper, which costs £86,000 annually to print and distribute, but the plans were called in by Conservative chief whip Martin Vickers.
As a result, the Liberal Democrat-controlled council decided that a select committee would review the local authority’s advertising and marketing budget in a bid to determine the best value for taxpayers.
In a letter published in the Telegraph Mark Price, managing director of Grimsby and Scunthorpe Media Group which publishes the Telegraph and associated titles, said the publisher was “very concerned” about proposals to remove council ads which would add to the “severe strain” caused by the recession.
He added: “We believe that, in print and on the internet, we offer the local authority the widest audience for their recruitment advertising. We also believe it is important that organisations such as North East Lincolnshire Council support independent local media. As local newspaper publishers, we have a deep commitment to and passion for the community we serve.”
The NS also says that South London Press has revealed that Lambeth Council’s fortnightly newspaper Lambeth Life was costing more than £500,000 a year to produce prompting an angry backlash from opposition councillors.