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Satchwell backs calls for more local ownership

The boss of the Society of Editors has endorsed calls for a “resurgence of local ownership” in the local newspaper industry.

Executive director Bob Satchwell says there is “some force” in the idea that the big regional press groups should exit the stage if they no longer want to publish newspapers.

Bob was writing in the forthcoming book What Do We Mean By Local which has been put together by former regional editor Neil Fowler and journalism lecturer John Mair.

His comments echo those made by Neil in his Nuffield Lecture last November in which he said it was time to return the industry to local ownership and called on his former employers, DMGT, to lead the way.

Writes Bob:  “There is some force in the idea promulgated by Neil Fowler that the big regional groups should get out of the way if they no longer want to publish local papers themselves.

“While consolidation has been the watchword over the past couple of decades, and may still have a place, so does a resurgence of localism in terms of ownership.

Bob said that every gap left by a former closed-down newspaper was an opportunity – and that journalists and former editors are already filling those gaps with hyperlocal websites.

“More should grasp the nettle, as should local entrepreneurs who want to make a mark in their communities,” he added.

The book, which features chapters by a host of industry figures, will be launched at 6.30pm on 27 March at Coventry University’s London campus, East India House, 109-117 Middlesex Street, London E1.

Tickets are £5 and places can be booked in advance at

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  • March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Buying newspapers is a habit. Unfortunately the big boys in the industry, in their relentless drive to cut costs and maximise profits, have broken the habit for many readers. I think there would be very few people prepared to invest in a dying industry when there are plenty of other investment opportunities. As an ex-journalist, I certaintly would not invest my pension pot in a newspaper.

    The best newspapers are those that have never been grubbied by the big boys. One example is the Lymington Times/New Milton Advertiser. At 35p a week for 32 broadsheet pages it is a bargain because it is packed with news in the way that newspapers were 40 or 50 years ago. What’s more, it attracts a lot of advertising, probably because space is very affordable. True, the paper has no colour but does that really matter?

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