Study shows the value of Britain’s local papers

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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I was interested to see the results of a study conducted by the BBC in conjunction with the Newspaper Society which revealed that local and regional newspapers overwhelmingly remain the top source for local news and information.

And the research showed that was the case for online stories published on the internet as well as those published in the newspapers themselves.

The study was conducted by Tim Bishop, head of regional and local programmes at BBC East and himself a former evening newspaper editor.

He looked at the overlap between stories published in the two daily newspapers in Northamptonshire – like The News, both part of the Johnston Press group – and BBC news services in the area.

The study found that the two papers each publish more than four times as many stories as the BBC local radio station.

During the study period, the newspapers published 435 news stories on their internet sites with the BBC delivering 73.

And looking at sources of news content, the study found that 12 per cent of local newspaper stories originated from press releases compared with 22 per cent for BBC local radio during the period of research.

Tim said: ‘We found that local newspapers remain overwhelmingly the major publisher of local news and information.

‘In the end somewhere is local to all of us. For the overwhelming majority it’s a better place, too often hidden behind the national headlines.

‘These are really strong content rich local papers, facing a multitude of threats to their revenue and therefore to their robust local journalism.

‘But where you live is also a better place because of the strength and diversity of the local media.

‘Without it we are all the poorer.’

I’m sorry for the caption error which marred our coverage of the Royal Navy’s rehearsals at HMS Collingwood for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The caption with a picture of sailors on parade mistakenly described them as Royal Marines. Apologies for the mistake.