Local newspaper groups must develop a business model which allows them to compete with other news providers and keep pace with technological developments, while maintaining investment in journalists, according to a Scottish Parliament report published today.
The Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee’s report on the Scottish local newspaper industry addresses difficulties faced by the sector in a time of declining circulation and economic recession.
Committee Convener Karen Whitefield MSP said: “It’s imperative that the newspaper industry keeps pace with, and adapts to, technological and cultural changes in the media landscape. Newspapers must do all they can to remain relevant to people’s lives.
“Local newspapers are a vital training ground for journalists and have an important role to play in representing communities’ views on a number of issues. While it is up to the industry to manage its own future, we are calling on the Scottish Government to monitor the situation in the current challenging environment.”
Other key findings and recommendations from the report include:
• Concern about the potential impact on the newspaper industry of proposals for television channel three. If the proposals for a Scottish network are taken forward by the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, the committee asks the Scottish Government to assess the impact on print media.
• The committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to drop its proposals to require Public Information Notices to be published online only. This will help ensure public access to information and support newspaper revenues.
• Concern about the disparity between the remuneration of senior media industry executives and journalists entering the profession. The report highlights the need for companies to make sustained investment in journalism.
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