On 31st March Jon Cruddas MP contacted the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding the support structures for local news outlets during the Covid-19 crisis.
Jon said: “at this time, how we receive news and information is incredibly important. When I contacted the Secretary of State there was very little infrastructure in place to support freelance journalists or small news outlets.”
The response from the Department for Media and Date came through on 21 April and stated that the government was subsidising the fall in advertising by taking out ads with independent news outlets to highlight government guidelines during the crisis.
The Minister responding stated: “There is an immediate lever for supporting the sector through government advertising and we are working with colleagues across government to provide support through this mechanism. We have already made progress here, with an increased amount of government advertising now going to regional and local newspapers, and a significant public information campaign being rolled out across print throughout the Covid-19 crisis.”
Jon added: “after liaising with reporters at the Post and Recorder I am satisfied that Archant is benefitting from this new strategy, and that the government has approached the organisation to take out ads. This goes some way to support the company and its employees.”