The recent demise of the Oldham Evening Chronicle – the latest in a long line of local press closures – highlights the crisis in the UK newspaper industry, and politicians are failing to respond, says CIoJ President Mark Croucher.
“The watchdogs of democracy are dying while global social media companies enrich themselves on the profits of online advertising”, says Croucher. “Meanwhile, government failures, negligence and abuses of power go unchecked.
“This is a crisis of democratic accountability that has devastated the local and regional newspaper industry. There is also a deficit in ideas and solutions to the problem.”
Croucher adds that the CIoJ is investigating the establishment of a research and development project “to find new ways of sustaining local and regional journalism” in newspaper and multimedia publishing.
The Institute has been tracking job losses and newspaper shut-downs in Britain over the last 20 years.
In the same week that the 168-year old Oldham Evening Chronicle closed, with the loss of 49 jobs, Trinity Mirror announced the termination of the weekly Canterbury Times, and three local weekly titles in Cambridgeshire, as well as moving Bedfordshire On Sunday to midweek and closing its website.