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Newspaper launches donation drive as half of staff furloughed

An independent newspaper has launched an appeal for reader donations after furloughing half of its staff.

The South London Press is calling for financial contributions to help it through the coronavirus pandemic and enable it to “continue what we are good at for another 150 years”.

The SLP has announced on Twitter that half of its team of 12 have been placed on the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

In the tweet, the paper said donations towards its running costs would “really help us out”.

SLP donations

In an accompanying editorial, the SLP said: “For more than 150 years the South London Press has fought to bring you the best news in the area, uncovering injustices and holding politicians to account.

“We want to continue what we are good at for another 150 years, but it’s no secret local papers are under pressure in an ever-changing world of digital and social media.”

The SLP is published every Tuesday as an e-edition and every Friday in print and digital.

The editorial added: “Over the decades our iconic newspaper titles, the recently combined South London Press, London Weekly News and Mercury have played a pivotal role in the heart of their communities.

“The South London Press and Mercury have championed South London giving a strong voice to diverse and vibrant communities. This has been achieved through campaigning and putting the spotlight on issues which really matter to those who live and work in the area.

“The award-winning South London Press is widely held up as one of the best titles in the capital, with its robust news coverage of the boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Wandsworth, Merton and more recently our expansion means that we are reporting too on issues occurring in Greenwich, Bexley and Croydon. As well as central and west London coverage by the London Weekly News.

“Sports coverage is second to none and the papers are key media partners with Millwall and Charlton Athletic football clubs. Also providing comprehensive coverage of Crystal Palace, AFC Wimbledon and Dulwich Hamlet football clubs, as well as a wide range of other local sports and events.”

Last month Archant launched a new initiative which will allow readers to make online donations to help fund its journalism.

A similar experiment was conducted by the North West Evening Mail and Carlisle News & Star in 2017.

An estimated 150 journalists across the UK local press industry are now on paid leave as a result of the outbreak, and HTFP has approached the SLP to ask whether any of its editorial staff have been furloughed.

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