Henry Faure Walker, CEO of Newsquest Media Group, said: “We welcome Dame Cairncross’s recommendation that support for public interest reporters, and in particular the great work done by the nascent BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporter scheme, should be expanded.
“Any support must be done in a way that maximises its contribution to local journalism - and this is best done by leveraging the extremely effective and efficient infrastructure already in place in regional publisher newsrooms up and down the country. Diverting funds to setting up an alternative news publishing infrastructure or activities that directly compete with existing local publishers would further undermine the business model for quality local journalism and risks not being sustainable.
“As Dame Cairncross says, there is no other area of journalism so important for the health of local democracy than local news, and finding a way to support local news is now a matter of urgency.
“The focus now moves on to Government who we hope will be bold and ambitious. We look forward to working with them on meaningful and high impact solutions that will support the incredibly important role that local publishers and their public interest journalism fulfils in communities across the length and breadth of the UK.”