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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Plight of Oldham Evening News highlights extent of the crisis

The Chartered Institute of Journalists says the closure of Oldham Evening Chronicle and other newspapers in the last week represents a crisis that the journalism industry and politicians are failing to respond to.

The Institute says the watchdogs of democracy are dying while global social media companies enrich themselves on the profits of online advertising, and government failure, negligence and abuse of power goes unchecked.

CIoJ President, Mark Croucher, says: “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.”

He said the institute is investigating the setting up of a research and development project to find new ways of sustaining qualitative local and regional journalism in newspaper and multimedia publishing.

The Institute is the longest established professional association of journalists in the world and has been tracking a catastrophic reduction in jobs and newspaper shut-downs in Britain over the last 20 years.

Mr Croucher added: “Everyone seems to agree that the Grenfell Tower disaster in West London could have been avoided had there been a more active and questioning local media industry.”

In the last 7 days the 168 year old title ‘The Oldham Evening Chronicle’ has closed with the loss of up to 49 jobs. Trinity Mirror has also announced the closure of the weekly ‘Canterbury Times’ and three weekly titles in Cambridgeshire as well as moving the ‘Bedfordshire on Sunday’ to midweek while also closing its website.