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Two regional press chiefs appointed to government inquiry panel

AllinsonTwo regional press industry representatives have been appointed to a panel which which will carry out a government review into the “sustainability” of Britain’s printed press.

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield and KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson, pictured, will sit on a ten-person panel conducting the inquiry, announced last month by Theresa May.

The review will look into funding models to ensure the continuation of high-quality national and regional journalism, and will examine different business models for quality journalism as well as analysing how the supply chain for digital advertising operates.

Former economic journalist Dame Frances Cairncross has been appointed to chair the panel, which was unveiled today.

The other members are Peter Wright, Matt Rogerson, Mimi Turner, Douglas McCabe, Stephen Woodford, Akshat Rathi, Polly Curtis and Azeem Azhar.

Meanwhile the National Union of Journalists has called for Culture Minister Matt Hancock to ensure the views of grassroots journalists are also “heard loud and clear” during the inquiry.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “When the government announced its external review to examine the sustainability of the UK’s press, the NUJ welcomed it. Today the Culture Secretary announced the review is to be headed by Dame Frances Cairncross and has named the panel.

“None of those named represent journalists on the ground who can explain exactly the effect of the present troubles in the industry are having on their ability to produce quality journalism and connect with their communities. We hope Matt Hancock can ensure that the journalist’s voice is heard during the process.”

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Although the internet has been an immense force for good, it has torn apart the established order and raised real questions about the sustainability and profitability of traditional journalism.

“Dame Frances Cairncross will bring her experience in journalism and academia to tackle these issues with a view to examine the press and protect the future of high quality journalism.”


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  • March 13, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Very light on the real coalface of local markets and people with first-hand regional publishing experience.

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  • March 13, 2018 at 10:21 am

    If finding funding and business models to save the printed press is the answer, then why appoint chief executives, tech and publishing media experts, and a couple of senior editors to this panel? These are the same people who allowed the press to get in this mess in the first place. The absence of “journalists on the ground” also smacks of elusion.
    Another effort facing oblivion in the long grass of “sustainability”.

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  • March 13, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    A better question would be to ask why the NUJ isn’t on the panel. I’m sure they will blame a Conservative government but it does say a lot about the relevance of the NUJ these days that they can be so readily ignored.

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