Local press consolidation: bad news for local democracy

Roy Greenslade reports today the plans of David Montgomery to create Local World, a company that “will effect a consolidation of regional newspapers”.

Here are some key bits:

“As a consistent cold-blooded cost-cutter, he has plenty of experience in making cuts”

“The next step for large newspaper groups struggling to maintain profitability is an extensive rationalisation of the entire nation-wide structure of the industry”

“Proprietors believe that greater consolidation is long overdue, allowing for improved economies of scale and title closures and mergers”

“To that end, he turned dailies into weeklies, closed some titles, switched frees into paid-fors and reduced staffing. The result was a return to profitability”

Although this may keep local newspapers alive a little bit longer, this will weaken these ‘consolidated newspapers’ ability to hold local representatives and institution to account – less journalists, earlier deadlines, less highly local news.

Bad news for local democracy.

For more information on the declining strength of traditional press see my blog here.

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