Friday 23 November 2012

Support local democracy - buy the Kilburn Times

 Regular readers of the Brent and Kilburn Times will have noticed that the paper has been a lot slimmer recently.  This is the result of cost saving measures that also include a reduction in reporting staff. The Archant Group, along with other local newspaper groups such as Trinity South who produce the Wembley and Willesden Observer, are facing economic difficulties as a result of the loss of advertising revenue in the  recession and declining leadership.

The increase in free distribution of titles is one way of boosting circulation and thus making the papers attractive to advertising. As the remaining pages have to carry the advertisiments this reduces space for news item. The Letters Page has been a casualty of this squeeze on space in the BKT recently so it is good to see it back this week - not just because a letter I wrote about Central Middlesex A&E and schools was published! There was no editorial his week, presumably to squeeze in more letters, but it would be a shame to lose this feature as in my opinion they have been very influential in the past.

Letters pages in local newspapers are part of the lifeblood of local democracy and vary a great deal. The Ham and High and Camden Journal in our neighbouring borough have particularly lively pages and are often the first pages turned to by readers.

So far the slimmed down BKT has continued its high standard of reporting and they continue to originate stories and break exclusives  rather than recycling press releases which unfortunately is the role of many local newspapers with reduced reporting staff.

Our local newspapers  are particularly important in these times when both council and government cuts mean community is losing vital health, police and fire services and many families face hunger and  homelessness. With a weak opposition in  the Council the BKT has a vital role in holding our local politicians to account.

Help keep them going: buy it and advertise in it.


Trevor said...

When I was younger I used to enjoy reading local and national newspapers.
For example every Sunday morning I can remember being sent by my parents to the local corner shop to buy the News of the world Newspaper which I used to enjoy Reading.
Then if I remember correctly the local newspapers such as the kilburn times would come out on a Friday?
so I would personally buy a copy and read it it with enthusiasm.
now my habit has changed.
Well because News in my opinion is not the same anymore.
Papers these days are more focused on advertising and although I understand that that is how it makes money etc to publish papers each week but the advertising etc puts me off.
I'm not interested in anything advertised in a newspaper whether it be high fat take away food or car insurance.
all of it puts me off completely.
If I decide to waste my money buying a newspaper I expect and want it to contain more News rather than 5% news and and 95% advertising.
plus I do not like or support this increasingly desperate commercial system that Promotes materialism which then causes people to become obsessed and then when material things lose their value they end up being dumped which then creates a litter problem and a pollution problem and the litter or environmental problems are made worse when the reckless greedy hypocrites known as MP'S impose their cuts which then force councils to reduce litter collection which means litter is left to pile up in the streets and on the pavements.
and talking of pavements even they are increasingly being more and more broken and cracked and patched up and the cracked pavements are often left cracked and broken for ages before being patched up only to fall apart again.
and then green areas are increasingly used as convenient places for the public to dump their empty beer cans and plastic bottles and fast food bags wrappers and boxes as well as the inevitable empty cigarette boxes.
and yet here you are Francis urging people to support a system that creates problems rather than solve them.
Well you won't get my support I assure you.

Anonymous said...

I do buy the local paper but I have to say your blog is far more informative!

Mike Phipps

Trevor said...

I must I agree with you Mike.
and Martin I am sorry for being so mean spirited To you.

Bethany said...

The paper actually has far more interesting stories they could publish, rather than the fluffy dog poster stuff they do run. Contact Max Walters on why they don't release those stories instead.

Pressure from certain council departments not to expose them and staff?

Martin Francis said...

Thanks for your comment Bethany. I don't agree with the fluffy dog suggestion. The BKT has published many stories critical of the Council and certainly under the Ann John regime were far from popular. There were even rumours that a round robin letter was circulating complaining about their perceived 'bias'.

Of course not everything that is suggested to them gets followed up. This is not treatment aimed at any particular person but part of the editorial process - they only have limited space (even more so lately) and limited personnel (also more so lately). There are stories that I send/suggest that are also not published but many others are.

Max and other reporters actually go out and seek stories and still investigate, unlike the reporters on many other papers where journalism is limited to rewriting press releases and ringing for a comment.

I don't claim the BKT is perfect but I consider they do a good job in far from ideal circumstances.