Johnston Press boss Ashley Highfield in the i on the deal withe BBC to pay £8 million a year to fund 150 regional reporters to cover courts and councils: “We believe this will strengthen and enhance local journalism, and the crucial role it has in holding local authorities to account, while maintaining the healthy competition between different news sources which is so important in a democracy.More coverage and content from councils will be more widely distributed ensuring greater accountability and transparency in an ever more devolved Britain.”
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, in a statement: "The NUJ believes there is a democratic deficit in local news – the press is not covering the decisions of courts, councils and public bodies in a way which properly informs readers about their democratic institutions. But should it be the licence-fee payer who plugs this gap? Local newspaper groups have a proven track record of cutting staff, merging titles, closing local offices and overstretching the few workers left on the ground just to maintain their profits. What checks are there that these groups will not exploit this licence-fee subsidy in the same way?"
Tom Utley in the Daily Mail: "That's that, then. After all the luvvies’ wailing at the Baftas — and the hysterical claims that the Government was intent on turning the BBC into a ‘North Korea-style’ state broadcaster — Auntie seems to have come through her ten-yearly ordeal of charter renewal pretty much unscathed."
James Naughtie in the Big Issue: "It sounds corny but I remember watching the hot metal plates being put together and hearing the presses roll on my first day at the Aberdeen Press and Journal. It was like watching the Flying Scotsman pulling into a station. I tell my children and it sounds like a story from the Bronze Age. Don't get me started on the state of newspapers today. I find the decline of the printed page really sad."