MPs call for government inquiry to save regional press and condemn Trinity Mirror closures

Trinity Mirror’s decision to close seven local newspapers with the loss of 50 editorial jobs has been condemned by MPs.

So far 16 MPs from across the political spectrum have signed an early day motion condemning the moves.

The EDM states that 150 local newspapers have closed since 2008 and calls for a parliamentary inquiry to secure the future of the regional press.

The titles being closed include: The Surrey Herald (launched in 1892), the Harrow Observer (1855) and the Wokingham Times in (1903).

In Reading Trinity Mirror is closing its marketing-leading print titles: The Reading Post and Get Reading and instead adopting a digital-only model.

Ten new digital editorial roles are being created in Reading.

Trinity Mirror has declined to expand on the reasons for the closure of titles are to answer questions about whether they were loss-making or offered for sale to other publishers.

The EDM states:

That this House regrets the latest announcement from Trinity Mirror newspapers that approximately 50 editorial and non-editorial jobs will be lost as seven newspapers in the south of England, including the Harrow Observer, Reading Post and Surrey Herald, are to be closed; notes that the proposals will mean that the county of Berkshire will be served by a digital-only model; further notes that the latest closures come on top of the closure of 150 local newspaper titles since the financial crisis of 2008, with many more reducing the frequency of publication or the range of locally-specific news coverage; is concerned about the loss of such assets to local communities and the important democratic function they serve in reporting on public life including local and national election campaigning; welcomes the recent cross-party stakeholder seminar organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider policy responses; and joins the National Union of Journalists in calling for a short, sharp cross-party and inter-departmental government inquiry into securing a future for the industry, in order to protect the public interest and defend jobs in quality local journalism.

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