As part of a group response to the government‘s inquiry into the future of local and regional media, Paul Bradshaw looks at the role of local authorities in regional journalism. Blog comments will be submitted to the inquiry as well as the blog posts.
So. The Committee for Culture, Media and Sport want responses on “The appropriateness and effectiveness of print and electronic publishing initiatives undertaken directly by public sector bodies at the local level”
The question of what public sector bodies should be allowed to publish, how that affects local journalism, the local economy, and local democracy, is one of the most difficult to resolve – not least because it involves so many interconnected elements.
The first problem is that any discussion runs the risk of conflating a number of separate but interlinked elements:
- local councils and local democracy are not the same thing;
- local newspapers and local journalism are also two different things.
Whatever model emerges must recognise that papers are not the only places where public discussion takes place, and print journalists are not the only people holding power to account.