AddThis SmartLayers

Defunct weekly’s social media channels harming town’s image, says council

A council is set to meet a regional news website over concerns about off-patch crime stories appearing on a defunct weekly’s social media channels.

Harlow Council says the Facebook and Twitter channels of the Harlow Star are being used by Essex Live to promote crime stories which are not related to the area it serves, leaving residents worried about “the impact this could have on the town’s image”.

Star owner Reach plc closed the newspaper earlier this year, but its social media accounts have remained active and provide links to Essex Live stories.

The council contacted Reach after the issue was raised with the authority by a number of concerned residents.

Harlow FB

An example of one of the off-patch crime stories appearing on the Harlow Star Twitter channel

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We want to work with all media to promote Harlow and a meeting with Essex Live will take place shortly to talk about how we can work together following the demise of the Harlow Star newspaper.

“There are concerns about the Harlow Star social media channels linking to stories that are not about Harlow, for example crime and incidents in London and other areas in the country.

“Since the Star newspaper ceased publication the Harlow Star social media channels have remained but very rarely are the stories about Harlow.

“The posts can give the impression that these incidents have occurred in Harlow itself. If someone were to just read the headlines of the posts it would appear to them that there are more incidents happening in the town than there actually are.

“We have been picking up concerns on social media from residents including a local school head teacher about the number of non-Harlow related stories and the impact this could have on the town’s image.”

Reach has confirmed it will meet with the council in the near future.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • May 1, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Agree with council that off-patch crime stories have a negative impact on the town. On the other hand – does it matter? Who reads social media from local media anyway? In my area, the local democracy reporter tweets a link to a story and gets 4 RTs – from the chief reporter, another reporter, the cityLive account and the regionLive account, and no one else! Every 20 mins.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(9)
  • May 2, 2019 at 11:29 am

    This all about directing maximum eyeballs to Reach Plc’s news sites so the clicks can be sold to advertisers. Social media is a big part of that and crime stories get a lot of attention on social media. I run a hyperlocal website which has a Facebook link. Crime stories reach about five times more readers on Facebook than any other category resulting in massive boosts in traffic to the site. I don’t rely on advertisers so I do my best to present a balance of stories but you can see the attraction to advertiser funded media of covering stories that are going to get the most clicks regardless of whether they relate to the areas or the impact it has on the image of those areas. It is newsonomics in the digital age.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)