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'Local content the key to digital age' – Tim Bowdler

A UK media chief is encouraging world newspaper publishers ro remember their local reach – despite technology making their products available nationally and internationally.

Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler told the World Association of Newspapers in Gothenburg that businesses needed to be realigned around their local community.

He explained how when it comes to news distribution, technology brings down borders.

But he added that newspaper companies, in the search for more readers online, ought not to forget the local capabilities that digital technology offers.

“Central to the development of our digital capabilities has been an overriding determination for each and every one of our local editorial teams to embrace digital channels as an integral means of engaging with their local communities”, says Mr Bowdler, whose company publishes hundreds of local newspapers and websites.

“We want our websites to be regarded as an extension and complement to our print publications, thereby extending audience reach and the advertiser offering.”

Johnston press is extending audience reach by targeting specific demographics, geographic areas and special interest groups.

He said “Our most important distinguishing capability as a business is the strength and depth of our community links, not least the heavy investment we continue to make in local journalism.

“And just as important has been the maintenance of a strong commercial relationship with local advertisers with the entire edifice being built on the real sense of trust which communities have in their local newspaper brand and what it stands for.

“Our core philosophy has long been summed up by the simple expression ‘Life is Local’.”