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Survey probes government service to local press

Local media journalists are being invited to take part in a survey into the way government press officers deal with the local and regonal media.

Seven years ago, a high-powered report by the late former Guardian Media Group chief executive Sir Bob Phillis called for government communications to be more focused on local communities.

Now a senior government information officer has decided to undertake a research project in a bid to find out how far it is succeeding in that aim.

HoldtheFrontPage has agreed to publicise the survey in order to maximise the response from local press journalists.  To take part in the survey, click here.

The survey is being carried out as an independent research project by Stuart Baird, East Midlands regional director of the Central Office of Information.

It is not however funded or endorsed by the COI in any way.

Said Stuart:  “Having worked as a print journalist myself in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, I know what a vibrant and important part a strong local media plays in communities – but there has been very little formal research been undertaken on how the Government interacts with local and regional media.

“The cross over between my own study and my job is that I am passionate about the importance of the local press and the positive impact it has.”

The survey results will be published in August this year and the findings analysed and presented to the University of Leeds in the autunm.

HTFP publisher Paul Linford, who gave evidence to the Phillis Review in his previous role as political editor of The Journal, Newcastle, welcomed the initiative.

“The Phillis review highlighted definite shortcomings in the way government departments dealt with the local media of which I as a regional lobby journalist at the time was only too well aware.

“I welcome this valuable piece of additional research by Stuart and am pleased to encourage HTFP readers to take part in it.”