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To highlight the crisis in local journalism and democracy in advance of the upcoming election the Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy in association with the National Union of Journalists held a pre-election meeting in Parliament on March 17, 2010.
The urgent need for action is clear: the Newspaper Society notes that 101 local newspapers closed down between January 2008 and August 2009 while ITV has said it can no longer afford to provide a regional news service. Buffeted by the recession and the impact of the internet, the current business model for local news is facing collapse and, perhaps with it, the pursuit of local news that is in the public interest. To date, government and opposition party responses have been inadequate.
Speakers stressed the importance robust news coverage for local democracy and proposed concrete steps to halt the decline in local news, such as those contained in the NUJ’s economic stimulus plan to reinvigorate local journalism.
Speakers included: Jeremy Dear (General Secretary of the NUJ); Steve Hewlett (R4 The Media Show and Guardian columnist), Professor James Curran, (Director of Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre), Natalie Fenton (editor of New Media, Old News), Angela Phillips (founder, East London Lines), Professor Stephen Coleman (University of Leeds).
Coverage and audio recordings can be found here: http://jwarren.co.uk/blog/democracy-without-journalists/?utm_source=leftlist