AddThis SmartLayers

Editor refutes newspaper chief’s ‘ridiculous’ monopoly claim

A weekly editor has hit out at “ridiculous” claims that a child sex abuse scandal could have been exposed more quickly if his newspaper didn’t operate a “monopoly” in the town it serves.

Rotherham Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley says Chris Bullivant senior was “wrong” to single out his newspaper in an open letter about what he perceives as government “inaction” over Trinity Mirror’s takeover of Local World.

As reported on HTFP yesterday, Bullivant Media chairman Chris told the Competition and Markets Authority the buyout has “stymied future competition in the cities of the UK”.

He went on to cite Rotherham as an example of the “stultifying effect of daily newspaper monopoly in England”, in reference to the town’s child abuse scandal being broken by Times journalist Andrew Norfolk, rather than a local newspaper.

Wrote Chris: “If true newspaper competition were operational there the attacks on 1,500 young women would not have gone unreported for so long.

“I believe, by accident or design, an opportunity to break into the regional monopolies existent in all of the cities of England has been thwarted by government inaction either directly or via the quangos that sometimes ‘front’ Government decisions.”

He also likened the government’s refusal to investigate his concerns about the LW buyout to the failure of the authorities in Rotherham to address the abuse scandal.

Rotherham supplement

Hitting back at Chris’s claims, Andrew said: “For Chris Bullivant to use the Rotherham Advertiser as an example to prove his point is ridiculous.

“For a start the Rotherham Advertiser is a weekly paper, but that’s not the main issue. Rotherham is also covered by two daily newspapers, The Star and the Yorkshire Post.

“Equally, if it was not, the existence of other newspapers would not have proved Chris’s argument. Times journalist Andrew Norfolk, who broke the story, has himself said he worked on the case for four years before his paper was able to go with it.

“I seriously doubt that another regional paper, if it existed in Rotherham, would have allowed a member of its staff to work for so long on a single story.

“I doubt another regional paper in the country would be able to accommodate a reporter working on a story for so long – I am pleased for The Times and Andrew Norfolk that it could afford to do so and that it produced the results that it did.

“Monopolies are never a good thing, but to incorrectly use the Rotherham Advertiser as an example of a ‘stultifying regional monopoly’ is simply wrong.”

The CMA says it looked into the Local World deal but decided not to investigate after considering the case, while Trinity Mirror has declined to comment.

In July last year, the Advertiser launched its #LoveRotherham campaign in a bid to help the the town move on from the scandal.