Tory MP Louise Mensch is demanding a meeting with Johnston Press over its decision to take its two Northamptonshire dailies weekly.
The regional publisher announced earlier this week that it was moving five of its daily titles to weekly publication including the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph.
Louise, who represents the Northants town of Corby, has called for a meeting with Johnston Press bosses to discuss her concerns over the plans, which will also see new iPad apps created for each of the affected titles.
She has also succeeded in securing a debate in Westminster Hall next Wednesday on the future of local newspapers which she is urging affected MPs from all parties to attend.
Louise, who first found fame as the chick-lit author Louise Bagshawe, has been giving her reaction to the announcement on the social networking website Twitter as well as on BBC local radio.
She tweeted: “Lots of Corby folk can’t afford iPads to use an app. I will seek a meeting w Johnston Press to ask if they’ve got this one right.”
However the company’s digital platforms director, Alex Gubbay, responded on Twitter saying: “The weekly paper will be bigger, better & benefit from fresh look and feel. Important to keep it relevant & good value.”
Other reactions to the Northants frequency change have come from the writers Andrew Collins and Matthew Engel, who each grew up in the area.
Andrew, who wrote about his Northampton childhood in the book Where Did It All Go Right? – published as an antidote to so-called ‘misery memoirs’ – described it as “the end of an era.”
He wrote on his blog: “The Chronicle & Echo, like many local papers, was a daily feature of my life in Northampton. My Dad had [a] letter printed in it, in 1980. We thought it was the coolest thing in the world at the time.
“I don’t imagine the young people of today would give much of a toss. They publish things all the time on Facebook and other sites – who needs a newspaper to do it?”
Cricket writer Matthew, who also grew up in Northampton, wrote about the changes in a Financial Times piece headlined ‘Death by a thousand clots.’
He put the blame for the daily title’s demise mainly on social developments which have transformed the nature of the local population.
“The Chronicle & Echo has died, not because the town is too small but because it is too big. Northampton is no longer a coherent community.
“Though it is by far the largest town in Britain to have lost its daily paper, others will follow, including perhaps – before long – cities as large as Birmingham and Manchester.”