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World without local press would be ‘utterly terrifying’, says editor

Katie FrenchAn editor has warned a world without local newspapers would be “utterly terrifying”.

Basingstoke Gazette editor Katie French said the prospect would be “really scary”, adding local papers acted as a “huge deterrent” against wrongdoing by those in authority.

Katie, pictured, was speaking at the World Without News panel, hosted by national newspaper marketing body Newsworks on Friday.

Research by Newsworks had found two-thirds of people appreciate and value journalism more since the global coronavirus pandemic began, while 70pc agree that a world without journalism would harm democracy.

Katie told the panel: “During times of crisis or uncertainty people turn towards brands they can trust. We saw a massive shift of people really appreciating original, trusted sources of news.

“We’ve had lots of people coming to us with various different rumours and we’ve been able to alleviate their anxieties.”

Considering what the world would look like without news, she added: “I guess in two words it would be utterly terrifying.

“A world without local press would be really scary because just the act of having a local paper in a community or a town really acts as a huge deterrent to make sure that authorities and those in power are held to account.”