The Wokingham Paper

‘It is estimated that 75% of local independent newspapers are facing closure’ – campaign calls on readers to write to their MPs to save local news

Picture: congerdesign from Pixabay

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to help save local independent news publishers – of which Wokingham.Today is one. 

Research has found that independent news providers – known as hyperlocal titles – are the most trusted source of news in the media. But more than 95% of them have received zero support from the Government since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wokingham.Today is unique among titles who are members of ICNN (Independent Community News Network) in that we have been receiving advertising from the Government, because we are a weekly publication. But we have not been receiving everything that other titles have been receiving and this campaign has been stopped as of this week.

The ICNN says that while £35million has been allocated to the newspaper industry in order to save lives by providing essential information to the public, and support the press, this money is not reaching the independents.  

It has launched a campaign, Support The 95, in a bid to get the support that the industry needs. 

Like all newspapers, we rely on businesses advertising and this has been reduced during the pandemic. The hyperlocal sector is directly affected by this advertising squeeze: with low margins, if revenue falls, the title is put at risk. 

This is despite the fact that the 95 ICNN titles have a collective print run of 426,000 copies and more than 15 million people visiting websites every month.

It is estimated that 75% of local independent newspapers are facing temporary or permanent closure, while 80 per cent do not have insurance that covers them for the challenges they now face.

The ICNN is asking readers of Wokingham.Today to send an email to their MP – be it Theresa May, Matt Rodda, John Redwood or James Sunderland – asking them to lobby culture secretary Oliver Dowden to agree a funding package for the independent press. 

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