Local World set to refresh the local press

Posted By

It’s been an interesting week for the media industry, with the formation of a major new regional news group – Local World – which now controls more than 100 newspapers and 60 websites across the UK.

Its titles include 16 dailies, 36 paid weeklies, 40 free weeklies and the franchises for free morning paper, Metro, which is distributed in Bristol and the east Midlands. It will be catering to six million readers and seven million website users.

As a result, the business, which is based in Leicester, has become – virtually overnight – the UK’s fourth largest regional newspaper group. It also has a heavyweight management team led by former chief executive of the Mirror Group, David Montgomery, who becomes Chairman, and Chief Executive, Steve Auckland, of Northcliffe Media.

So far, so good – but what’s really exciting is that despite a tough few years, which has seen revenues and readers at local papers disappearing with alarming speed, Local World has pledged to steer away from cost-cutting and instead invest in digital and mobile to ‘reinvigorate the declining local and regional newspaper industry’.

As an ex-journalist, who worked on several regional newspapers, I for one wish them every success. Local and regional newspapers are still read by hundreds of thousands of people every week – readers who value the news and views they put forward. They also form the ‘bread and butter’ of many communications campaigns.

So, it’s refreshing to see Local World enter the market, with a focus on becoming a ‘one-stop shop’ for local content delivered to online communities and a commitment to preserving print journalism. I hope it will mean more job security for journalists on regional titles – and it may also provide some great opportunities for public relations professionals too.