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NUJ organiser accuses local papers of sabotaging their own titles

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By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

November 7, 2011 | 2 min read

Chris Morley, the National Union of Journalist’s Northern and Midlands Organiser, has accused local newspapers of “sabotaging their own titles” in a blog for Ethos PR.

He said in the blog: “Local newspapers are not dead but they are being killed by remote and irresponsible owners who care nothing for them but as a source of ready cash. The damage is being compounded by the air of defeatism being generated by often timid editors (with a few honourable exceptions) who refuse to challenge the bean counters to protect their own titles.

“The fact is that the public has been conditioned to believe circulations are inevitably falling due to once-loyal readers switching to on-line news and other fancy new distractions. The old line is trotted out that young people are not reading newspapers and older readers are being lost due to life’s attrition.”

He continues: “The true situation is that newspaper titles changed hands from the old family owners who saw their titles as giving them a virtuous and prestigious place in the community to a small band of corporate giants totally divorced from the consumers they are trying to reach. The new breed of owners consistently starved their local newspapers of investment because circulation income was only a small part of their earnings. So long as the advertisers kept on coming back, the money still came rolling in they thought.”

This is the latest in a series of guest blogs for Ethos.

Shaun Fisher, director of Ethos public relations, said: “Chris raises some controversial issues but access to local news and paying for quality journalism is really important to our society and we hope Chris’ blog encourages debate.”

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