Statement on the Argus journalists’ strike action

As a City, we have managed to weather the economic storm relatively well, in part due to initiatives such as our Be Local Buy Local campaign. So it is disappointing that Newsquest have decided to relocate the Argus sub-editing function out of Brighton & Hove in favour of Southampton. Supporting local business is one of my key priorities as Council Leader and so any loss of local jobs is a real source of regret for me.

Last year, the Council unanimously passed a motion supporting the City’s local written media and expressing concern at the growing regionalisation of press coverage in general. Unfortunately, this latest move by Newsquest seems to be another example of this.

The Argus is a real Brighton & Hove institution and, although they clearly need to move with the times (and the economic realities), it is a great shame that they seem to be gradually locating their operations out of the City. For the sake of strong local democracy, I believe that Brighton & Hove needs a genuinely local newspaper with journalists and editors who have an in-depth understanding of local issues. I hope that Newsquest can be persuaded to reconsider this decision.

2 Responses to “Statement on the Argus journalists’ strike action”

  1. 1 Mark Walker November 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Good point Mary

    The loss of a local newspaper is more serious than simply losing something which many people think of as a rag.

    Amongst other things they are often the only way to raise issues which can hold local politicians to account as well as the best place to mobilise support behind issues of concern to the community – I imagine a plea to save a local institution would usually have been front page news on the Argus, but I guess that’s not likely in this case.

    I wonder whether you see any possible contender for its replacement amongst local websites – which by their nature may be more durable as advertising revenues plunge in traditional print media?

    Can we look to or as alternatives that can share important news with local people without the overheads of putting it on paper?


  2. 2 Gareth November 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    @Mark- unfortunately, despite the growing reach and importance of online media, it does not come close to the current readership of print news papers, *particularly* at a local level (such as with the Argus).

    The only solution I can think of are council subsidised local news outlets, but then the independence of those organisations will always be held in doubt.

    It’s a difficult problem. Hopefully the movement towards online readership will eventually solve the problem, but that’s not helpful for the short/medium term.

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