Some 24 local newspaper publishers have urged advertisers to use them rather than “blind programmatic ad buying which is placing household brands next to extremist content and fake news”.
The publishers – which include Johnston Press, Newsquest, Archant and DC Thompson – are members of 1XL which sells national advertising on their behalf.
The group represents 800 local news titles with a claimed reach of 22.7m people. Together they claim to employ more than 5,000 journalists.
In a joint letter to advertisers, 1XL said: “As Google, You Tube and Facebook continue to grapple with the concerns around ads appearing next to extremist content and fake news, we wanted to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the trusted, safe and highly responsive online advertising environment provided by the UK’s local news brands and represented by the 1XL partnership.
“Our content is produced by thousands of trained and highly skilled local journalists who spend their days engaging with communities up and down the country through their coverage of the stories and events affecting their lives.
“Our content is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the independent regulator that holds us to account for our actions and upholds our high standards of journalism.
“The context in which this puts your advertising increases engagement, trust and therefore consumer response, giving you better value for money alongside the peace of mind of a safe advertising placement.
“Maintaining the integrity of our content and our advertising environment is fundamental to us, and local news brands have always scored extremely well for trust. This was validated by a recent Comscore survey of UK Internet users – people said they trusted content on local news sites almost three times more than they did on social media.
“What’s more your advertising helps us to continue to fund much needed, high quality local journalism. We hope you will stand together with us to support our local news brands, many of which have been publishing for over 150 years, so their unique content can continue to be loved and trusted for many generations to come.”
Chief executive of Newsquest Henry Faure Walker said: “The crisis of confidence in the national digital advertising market continues, with advertisers increasingly exposed and worried about the dangers of blind programmatic ad buying which is placing household brands next to extremist content and fake news. Google and Facebook are keen to apologise but they don’t have credible answers.”
1XL represents the following publishers (not Trinity Mirror, the UK’s biggest local newspaper group):
Alpha Media Group
Bullivant Media Limited
Independent News and Media PLC
Isle of Wight County Press
Johnston Press PLC
Newbury Weekly News
Newsquest Media Group
Oldham Evening Chronicle
Scottish Provincial Press Ltd
The Shetland Times