London Assembly members have unanimously called for Mayor Boris Johnson to act on a regional publisher’s plans to relocate sub-editors out of the capital.
As reported on HTFP yesterday, the Assembly was due to debate a motion urging Mr Johnson plans to relocate eight production journalists 130 miles away from Newsquest offices in South London.
Those affected face relocation to the company’s central subbing hubs in Newport or Weymouth, or redundancy.
Titles affected include the Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Balham and Tooting Guardian, Mitcham and Morden Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, Richmond & Twickenham Times, and The News Shopper, which covers Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley.
The motion called on Mr Johnson to write to Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker expressing “further concern” over the plans.
It was put forward by Caroline Pidgeon MBE, the Liberal Democrats’ leader in the London Assembly.
She told Assembly Members: “Local newspaper are so important and, at a time of growing populations and our economy growing, they should be secure. But as we know across London, local newspapers’ record is mixed.
“Some areas are covered well, some are thriving, whereas for others reporting on local issues is all but disappearing.”
The motion, which was carried unanimously, read: “This Assembly agrees with the Mayor that local newspapers are part of the fabric of London’s local communities and play a vital role in informing people about grassroots subjects that matter to Londoners.
“This Assembly believes that local newspapers continue to be a key source of information for many of London’s diverse communities, and perform a powerful public scrutiny function by holding local government and other organisations to account for their actions.
“This Assembly is concerned by the recent announcement that Newsquest is to move eight posts on its titles in south London to its production centres in Weymouth and Newport – a move which the Assembly believes will threaten the quality and long term survival of local papers in south London.”
Newsquest London has been approached for a comment.