Crisis in local news deepens as seven London titles close

The National Union of Journalists is calling for an urgent public enquiry as local news-gathering and scrutiny is decimated.

The National Union of Journalists has called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to take action as seven north London newspapers shut this week.

Seven titles in north London owned by the Tindle newspaper group have been axed overnight, the final print-runs of the papers, some centuries-old, going out yesterday, marking yet another step in the decline of local media.

The closures come a week after it emerged Kensington and Chelsea News, the local for Grenfell Tower, was facing the axe after its owner group, Capital Media Newspapers, went into administration.

Closures of local papers have created a “crisis in terms of coverage of news and democratic bodies in the capital”, said Séamus Dooley, the NUJ’s acting general secretary, who added:

“The recent devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, which occurred despite the residents raising concerns about safety, showed just how vital it is for communities to have a watchdog in their local newspaper”

In addition to Kensington and Chelsea News, three other papers in west London currently face closure: the Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle.

For the north London papers, there was only a week between closure announcement to the final issues, leading the NUJ to demand greater protection for local newspapers.

The NUJ are calling for an urgent government enquiry into the decline and closures of local newspapers.

In a statement, the journalists’ union says local papers should be classed as “community assets”, and owners should give local communities “the opportunity to buy the titles or find new owners’ before they’re shut down”.

An editorial in The Enfield Advertiser yesterday read: “so economic reality has finally bitten and, after almost 140 years, yesterday we published the last ever editions of The Press”.

“In our absence, it will to some extent be over to you. Never lose sight of the fact that this is your community. Don’t be shy of holding to account the people who have the power to shape your lives”

Twelve years ago, The Enfield Advertiser had a staff of 17. Since then, year-on-year cuts reduced the staff and now the owners said it could not sustain the continuing decline in revenue.

The other north London titles being closed are: The Haringey Advertiser, The Barnet & Potters Bar Free Press, The Hendon Finchley and Edgware Press, The Edgware and Mill Press, the Edmonton Advertiser & Herald, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser and Herald and The East Barnet Press and Advertiser.

Communities will suffer as local papers close. We need action to protect the journalists scrutinising local politics and events.

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4 Responses to “Crisis in local news deepens as seven London titles close”

  1. Dave Roberts

    A sign of the times and not just for local papers. Nationally all the print media is in trouble with rising costs and the internet. The Indy is on line and still functions as a source of investigative journalism.
    A good example of how it’s the net that is shaping local politics is the investigations into Lutfur Rahman and his corrupt regime in Tower Hamlets. The local paper the East London Advertiser wouldn’t touch the matter with a barge pole until events were post facto. It was a former ELA journalist Ted Jeory who exposed the whole rotten mess in his blog Trial by Jeory. The rest of the media with the exception of Andrew Gilligan were too afraid of Rahman’s lawyers paid for by the taxpayers of Tower Hamlets.

  2. Will

    We don’t have capital punishment anymore or conscription although child labour is on the increase.
    The internet is the way forward but it is a shame not to be able to have a good local to leaf through anymore.

  3. patrick newman

    OK it’s a shame but I just cant get worked up about it. On the other hand it would be nice to see the demise of one or two national newspapers biting the dust as long as it evened up the political ballance when the BBC reds out ‘a look at the papers’!

  4. John

    Many local newspapers have turned into advertisement hoardings.
    They carry little real local content and increasingly use “franchised” columnists.
    They avoid controversial reporting and seem to side with the local powerful and mighty.
    No wonder their support has been ebbing away!
    It is not the fault of the journalists but the fault of the owners, who have no local loyalties.
    The national newspapers are going the same way.
    Donald Trump has a point when he refers to the “fake” news media.
    So much content is allocated to nonentities who – we are told – are “celebrities”.
    Quite what they are to be celebrated for is never made particularly clear!
    All media in this country largely fails the truth test.
    We were not told the truth about Iraq or Libya and we are not being told the truth about Syria.
    Why should I – or anyone else – actually be expected to pay good money to read lying articles?

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