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MPs say local newspapers need new support to survive

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The sisters are warned that local journalism will struggle to survive without fresh government support and fresh thinking.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee found that, while some smaller publishers have acknowledged the challenges of declining advertising revenue and the shift towards a largely online readership over the past two decades, the position of many papers remains uncertain Is.

Local newspapers have been hardest hit by the drastic changes in the news industry, with many being forced to close in recent years.

A cross-party committee of MPs has called on the government to consider making it easier for local news organizations to obtain charitable status as well as encourage publishers to make more charitable donations.

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The disappearance of local news providers, who have always served as the eyes and ears of their readers and held local decision makers to account, has left a hole in the heart of many communities.

Its executive chairman, Damian Green, said: “The disappearance of local news providers, who have always acted as the eyes and ears of their readers and held local decision makers to account, leaves a hole in the heart of many communities Is.

“Worryingly, it is the most deprived areas of the country that are most likely to miss out on coverage, given the disadvantages they already face.”

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The committee’s report follows the Cairncross Review in early 2019, which considered how a sustainable future could be achieved for British journalism.

Among the solutions offered by the committee is a review of the rules around statutory notices – still a significant source of funding for local papers – due to concerns that some “outdated” norms are keeping new publications out.

MPs also raised concerns that the largest, often corporate, owners of local titles often benefit disproportionately from government support, with the Committee to Audit public funds used to support local journalism calls.

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The committee said that “it should be analyzed whether this money can be distributed more fairly and better used to promote innovation”.

Without more support and a rebalancing of regulations to help smaller publishers, local journalism will continue to decline and all its associated negative effects

The BBC’s proposal that local radio stations share more content and broadcast less unique local programming as part of a push towards a “digital-first” strategy has also been described as concerning.

The committee warned that “directing more resources to their online local news services could harm commercial news publishers” and called on the broadcaster to reconsider its plans.

Mr Green said: “While there are many success stories of innovation, the nature of small audiences and limited reach means local publishers find it difficult to float in a market that rewards scale.

“The sector may have a sustainable future, but without more support and a rebalancing of regulations to help smaller publishers, local journalism will continue to decline and all its associated negative effects.”

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) welcomed the committee’s call for a long-term fund specifically for public interest news, with MPs suggesting that there should be a remit to support innovation.

NUJ assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley said the union “shares the concerns of many MPs over the dangers to the quality and coverage of local news”.

He added: “Proposals for the report are very welcome, and the emphasis on smaller publishers is particularly appreciated.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Local journalism is essential to a healthy democracy and we are looking at funding measures to help newsrooms innovate and become more sustainable, from tax relief on local newspapers Supporting this sector with

“We will soon be bringing forward our game-changing legislation giving new powers to the digital market regulator. This will ensure news publishers are paid fairly and bring more transparency on the algorithms used by major tech firms to drive traffic and revenue.

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