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Editor continues fight to get back into print

A community news website is continuing its battle for council funding which it says will allow it to re-launch its printed version.

Salford Star editor Stephen Kingston applied for a total of £3,500 earlier this year from three ‘community committees’ run by Salford City Council.

But the grants were turned down after the authority said they did not meet its criteria – saying the website was ‘overtly political’, not balanced and used offensive language.

Stephen has now appealed against the refusal and attended a hearing yesterday where cabinet members decided to defer a decision until next month.

He said it had been delayed because of a lack of evidence to support the the reasons given why funding was refused.

Said Stephen: “The reason why they didn’t give us funding was because they said we were overtly political and had unbalanced articles but they provided no evidence of this.

“It is a result because I just thought they would throw it out but it will just be deferred until July.

“I can’t see us getting it from what they were saying but I would say they are giving us a fair hearing, given the constraints they are under.

“The officers admitted that when they were doing the appraisal, they were doing it on the website, when our magazine is completely different to what is on the web.”

Stephen said the £3,500 he applied for would provide enough funds to start printing the magazine again – with advertising, donations and sales of merchandise meeting the rest of the costs.

Readers have already donated £1,000 towards the campaign to get the magazine back into print.

Stephen added: “The work that we do is about accountability and transparency – somebody somewhere has got to fund it. Somebody has got to finance independent journalism.”

The Salford Star was launched in May 2006 and published its last printed magazine in autumn 2008.

A spokesman for Salford City Council confirmed the decision had been deferred until the next cabinet meeting on 27 July, pending further evidence.


SebastianFaults (23/06/2010 09:07:00)
“Someone has got to finance independent journalism.”
Why? I’m not sure I’d like my hard-earned cash handed over as council tax going to fund every Tom, Dick and Harry who wishes to publish an organ under the guise of ‘independent journalism’. Surely, if people want to read Mr Kingston’s outpourings, they will dig deep to pay for it and advertisers will be pleased to shell out to appear in it.
That’s a good business model. Expecting local authorities to fund it is not.

Onlooker (23/06/2010 10:20:33)
SebastianFaults is right.

Salford Fan (23/06/2010 10:51:07)
The Salford Star is a community project…the very type of which Salford Council provides funds for in support as long as they can prove their product/project offers a benefit to the community. I am sure its readers would argue that it does.

Harold (24/06/2010 18:18:13)
Having been made redundant earlier this year, I have started working voluntarily for my friend’s website, in Beverley. His website has been purely picture focused, but I have since started going out and about and interviewing local people and adding value to his superb photography. Paul has built up a fantastic archive of local events which basically, as far as one man can go, chronicles local life in a wholly positive manner. We look for good news, are totally unpolitical and offer a platform for anyone who has something good to do or say. He was criticised for running an article from a BNP candidate in the run up to the election, but he had run articles from other candidates and it was right to run this piece. To cut a long story short, Beverley is a fantastic place and bad news is hard to come by. The local press have to show balance and tries to cover negatives and positives, especially as people from Hull complain that Beverley is painted in a wonderful light. It can’t be helped, it is a fine place. We have not looked at, nor are we considering council funding, but what we do is bring to life a town and cover it a way that no one is able to do, or will ever be able to do better, purely because of Paul’s enthusiasm and character. It’s a shame that a website like the one in the article has gone down the route it has. Every area has positives and that is what a good community website should cover, especially as the papers do a far better job and have far better staff, in my opinion. To me, there is no reason council funding should go to someone trying to take on other media at their game. However, trying to do something really positive for an area in a totally new way deserves, I believe, backing and support because NO ONE else can do such a thing.