Without local newspapers, London could suffer from a democratic deficit. Local press plays an important role in reporting local events, scrutinising public bodies and holding them to account.
This key role, alongside investigative journalism is now at risk as many have stopped printing due to falling circulation numbers, job cuts and the rise of digital media.
When comparing the circulation figures of five of London’s paid-for newspapers in 2005 with 2016, circulation fell by more than half.2
The London Assembly Economy Committee publishes its report ‘The fate of local news – read all about it’ today. The report sets out the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for local news in London. It found that:
A democratic deficit could emerge if local newspapers continue to scale back coverage of local councils, the courts and the local implications of national Government decisions.
As local newspapers concentrate on their web presence, there is evidence of less ‘on-the-ground’ news reporting or investigative journalism.
The majority of local newspapers have seen circulation fall in recent years and faced with falling sales, newspaper owners have cut jobs and consolidated to lower costs.