The NUJ has called on Sadiq Kahn, the London mayor, to step in as seven titles in north London, owned by Tindle, have been closed, plunging the capital's local news provision into a deeper crisis.
Posted on: 31 July 2017 07:45
Laura Davison: "We have repeatedly called on the government to convene a short sharp enquiry into the crisis facing local news."
As reported by the National Union of Journalists: The company has closed the newspapers and websites of the Enfield Advertiser & Gazette, the Haringey Advertiser, The Barnet & Potters Bar Free Press, The Hendon Finchley and Edgware Press, The Edgware and Mill Press, the Edmonton Advertiser & Herald, The Winchmore Hill Advertiser and Herald and The East Barnet Press and Advertiser, with the loss of six editorial jobs.
The staff had been responsible for producing the Chingford Times, which was shut two months ago.
It took less than a week from the announcement of the closures for the final editions to be published. The NUJ has argued for newspapers to be assigned as community assets, to prevent newspapers being closed overnight and giving local communities the opportunity to buy the titles or find new owners.
An article by Ciaran McGrath, deputy editor, of the Enfield Advertiser, said: "So (economic) reality has finally bitten and after almost 140 years, this Wednesday, we published the last ever editions of our newspapers."
Twelve years ago, the Enfield Advertiser & Gazette had a staff of 17, including three photographers, and a healthy freelance budget. Since then, year-on-year cuts reduced the staff and now the company said it could not sustain the continuing decline in revenue and had no option but to consider closing the titles.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "This is shocking news for the local communities served by these papers and awful for the talented and dedicated journalists who have represented them.
"The crisis in the capitals local newspapers was highlighted by the recent London Assembly enquiry into local news. Further loss of titles will reduced media plurality and choice and have a severe impact on the coverage of democratic and public bodies. The continuing loss of journalistic jobs in our capital city is unacceptable. We have repeatedly called on the government to convene a short sharp enquiry into the crisis facing local news."
The Tindle closures came hard on the heels of Capital Media Newspapers, owners of the South London Press (SLP), Greenwich Mercury and weekly titles in west London, going into administration. A buyer for the SLP and Mercury has been found, but the Kensington & Chelsea News, Fulham Chronicle, Hammersmith Chronicle and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle face closure.
The NUJ has now contacted the London Assembly's economic committee which is due to publish its inquiry into news provision in the capital.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said: "This news is a cruel blow. With Newsquest running local newspapers in south London on a skeleton staff, the loss of journalists' jobs in the north has created a real crisis in terms of coverage of news and democratic bodies in the capital.
"The recent devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, which occurred despite the residents raising concerns about safety, showed just how vital it is for communities to have a watchdog in their local newspaper. The NUJ is now calling on Sadiq Khan, the mayor, to take action to support the local media in London."