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Editor shares ‘titillating bubblegum’ fear over future of regional news

James Mitchinson 2An editor has warned the regional press will become a “homogeneous mass of titillating bubblegum” without further financial support from readers.

Yorkshire Post chief James Mitchinson made the claim as he shared his fear that regional news is “at risk of becoming a victim of click trends”.

He raised his concerns about the future of the industry while promoting a digital subscription offer being run by the Leeds-based Post.

It comes after James, pictured, previously stated his belief that current advertising models based on page views had led to a “race to the bottom” for some publishers.

Posting on Twitter, he said: “High quality, meaningful regional news is at risk of becoming a victim of click trends, rendering it a singular homogeneous mass of titillating bubblegum – if we’re not careful.

“We’re trying to hold the line, but we know we need you to protect us.”

It is not the first time that James has spoken out against the advertising model as a means of increasing digital revenues.

HTFP reported in 2020 how he called for the establishment of both a new “conscientious advertisers’ network” and a “responsible publishers’ network”.

His idea was to see the two groups would work together to encourage public interest journalism, with big advertisers taking a “conscientious decision” to support trusted brands that publish responsibly.

At the time, he said: “I have long been convinced that the indiscriminate nature of the programmatic advertising business model makes it vulnerable to exploitation.

“It has caused a race to the bottom, with some publishers – not all – and editors gaming the business model with their commissioning decisions, rather than thinking about what is in the public interest.

“When that happens, editorial decisions are steered by pure economics rather than robust, creditable editorial principles.”

HTFP has approached James for further comment on his Twitter remarks.