Monday 10 August 2009

Claire Enders: 'Government action has pushed local media over the edge faster'

Good interview with media analyst Claire Enders by Peter Kirwan in MediaGuardian today.
Particularly struck by her quotes at the end of the article about Government ads and the local press.
Kirwan writes: "In 2004, Enders notes, local newspapers refused the suggestion that they should be regulated by Ofcom. Simultaneously, the government started withdrawing public sector advertising and the Royal Mail "eliminated distribution to homes". Enders believes these changes resulted in much of the decline of the regional press.
"Is she suggesting a government conspiracy to destroy local newspapers? Not quite. But Enders maintains that she "went up and down the pike in 2004, very carefully ensuring that everyone in government, at all of the relevant levels, was aware of the potential effects of removing government advertising from the local press".
"The response, she says, was a shrug. "The government believes the local press is read by people, middle-aged and older, who live local lives. They are not relevant to the government's view of itself.
"Instead of helping local media to stay alive longer, the effect of government action has been to push them over the edge faster. We're talking about a fourth estate that is facing the future with much fewer resources. The resources on the government side are overwhelming."

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