Jon Slattery reports that the Tory group leader at Tower Hamlets claims the council has removed the press table from its council chamber and is ‘fighting to the death’ to preserve its controversial newspaper, East End Life.
The future of East End Life is currently “under review” and a new code being proposed by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles would ban local authority newspapers being published more often than four times a year.
Some interesting figures to be pulled out of Andrew Gilligan’s tirade against council-run newspapers in the UK:
In London more writers are currently employed by local authority titles than by the local independent press (which has around 350 editorial staff).
According to Gilligan, weekly council paper, Greenwich Time, has a total annual gross cost of £708,000 – £532,000 of which is supported by public money.
East End Life – the council freesheet for Tower Hamlets – has almost 50 per cent more staff than its independent rival, the East London Advertiser, and almost double the pages.
Public sector organisations pay a total of £980,000 to advertise in East End Life a year, according to Standard research.
The comments from readers are also worth a read with both the impact of dwindling resources on independent newspapers’ ability to cover local news and the ‘brain drain’ of journalists to local authority titles touched upon.
Would be great if the Standard could release the figures from it’s research in full…