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The future is local says ex-ITV boss

A director of the Society of Editors has outlined an alternative vision for the future of local news services, predicting a “new golden age” of local media.

As industry leaders debated the future of the industry in Bristol, former TV executive Steve Egginton said the time was ripe for a “renaissance” of local media run by and for local communities.

Speaking to HoldtheFrontPage, Steve said that the next few years would see an explosion in local internet TV platforms, filling the “vacuum” left by failing traditional media.

“The time is ripe for a new golden age of local media, run by local people, supported by local businesses which will support local communities rather than milk them for profit,” he said.

A former head of ITV West News and also a former BBC manager, Steve launched a free quality magazine, Mendip Times, three years ago and followed it up by launching internet TV channel Mendip TV.

He said: “The movement of content and advertising to the internet is inexorable and I believe expansion is going to come at the local level.

“There is a huge vacuum developing in local markets and I think local advertisers are more likely to support new ventures than failing newspapers which have largely abandoned local coverage.”

Steve said he believed new local internet platforms will provide news, advertising space, information and a “local voice” for local communities disillusioned with “national monopolies.”

Four other senior media executives will be looking into their crystal balls at a conference session this morning entitled “2020 Vision”.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey, Times international editor George Brock, BBC controller of English regions David Houldsworth and PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer will attempt to predict what the media will look like in 2020.