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Local MPs voice regret at newspaper's closure

Local MPs representing areas covered by a doomed weekly newspaper have voiced regret at its forthcoming closure in a Commons motion.

Trinity Mirror announced the demise of the Harrow Observer last month as part of a series of other newspaper closures inclusing those of the Reading Post and Surrey Herald.

Two MPs from either side of the political spectrum have put their names to a Commons early day motion about the issue.

Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow west, and Bob Blackman, who represents Harrow East for the Conservatives, are among ten MPs who have so far backed the motion.

Mr Thomas said: “I was very sorry to hear that the Harrow Observer is closing down. It has played a key role in fostering a sense of community in the borough, helping people to know what was going on and reporting on what young and old, new and long term residents have been up to.

“It has always been a crucial forum for debating local important issues and it will leave a big gap.

“Given the vital role that local newspapers play in informing our local democracy, I am calling for a short cross-party and inter-departmental inquiry to see how we can protect and secure a future for local newspapers.”

The National Union of Journalists has previously called for a similar inquiry into the local press industry.

Mr Thomas’s comments follow a motion passed by the union’s Trinity Mirror group chapel condemning the proposed closures.

It said: “The decision will deprive many communities of local news and make it extremely difficult to sustain a credible news presence in many others.”

Trinity Mirror has so far declined to comment further.

The full text of the EDM can be read here.


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  • December 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Wonder how many MPs know how precarious their local papers are?

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  • December 4, 2014 at 1:17 am

    More dinosaurs on the rampage. People aren’t buying newspapers any longer because, as they are printed hours before people read them, they are behind the times. There are better methods (and free) of keeping up to date with what’s going on.
    Now if they were well staffed and had talented journalists who came up with exclusives every day that would be a different story, but not one ‘local’ newspaper left is in this situation.
    Have an enquiry into that if you want but it’s called life. Things change. Advertisers have shifted to their own social media sites. The newspaper industry has doomed itself because its people have not had the ability to adapt.
    It’s sad for many, but true. So instead of moping, do something about it and fight for quality journalism in a modern world – the quality of journalism is being overlooked because too many companies are still hanging on to the hope that print will somehow make a comeback and are cutting down to the bare bones to keep going.

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  • December 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Harrow Observer was certainly a staple news source locally in Harrow and had established a real presence and forum for letters and debate.

    Surely as with Harrow Times is can become a free newspaper, and also continue online? The Evening Standard has established itself as a quality newspaper, and distributed free. Are there any local magnates who can takeover HO and supply it free?

    This should not be the last word on HO.
    Please keep trying to stay on!

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