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Council set to scrap in-house newspaper – four years late

A city council is finally set to scrap its own in-house newspaper – four years after it pledged it would do so.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council will cease publication of its City News newsletter as part of the 2019/20 budget savings, with the final issue due out in the spring.

The City Independents group – which runs the council in coalition with the Conservatives – promised to scrap City News forerunner Our City in the run-up to the 2015 elections.

However, it instead continued to publish the new publication, which has fewer pages than its predecessor and was published quarterly rather than every two months.

City News

In 2017 it was cut back further to three editions a year as part of the budget savings.

According to a report by Stoke-based daily The Sentinel, the final issue will be due out in the spring.

The Sentinel has reported the proposal, along with a wider review of the authority’s communications department, are expected to save £127,000.

The review, which the authority says will have “minimal impact”, will result in the loss of one full-time equivalent position.

Opposition Labour group leader Mohammed Pervez told The Sentinel: “The City Independents made an election pledge to get rid of the newspaper. But why have they waited four years to do this?

“They’ve benefited from having the City News for four years, but now that their term is coming to an end and we have an election coming up, they’re going to get rid of it.

“I’m not saying we should keep the City News now. But why couldn’t you have done this in 2015? I’m sure officers would have welcomed being able to make that saving.”

City council elections will take place in May, with the contract for City News due to expire in June.

Defending the decision, City Independent cabinet member Randy Conteh said: “This isn’t being cut for any political reasons, I can assure you of that. We have actually had some problems with City News over the last three-and-a-half years, in terms of its distribution across the city.

“And there have actually been a lot of changes in digital communications over the last three years. We can use social media to get the same messages out to the public.”

2 comments

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  • January 8, 2019 at 9:55 am
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    One down, but…
    East Riding of Yorkshire Council not only continues to publish its glossy “freesheet” but, to add insult to the proverbial, it also prints regular “news columns” in association (the authority’s term) with a number of local weekly newspapers.
    That kind of incestuous relationship is surely bad for the independence of the media.
    Or, in a few words, “hands”, “bite”, “feeds”, etc.

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  • January 8, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    Shame, actually looks better than most paid for newspapers. No wonder they objected!

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