Editor calls for 'media bank' to help ailing local press

The editor of the Camden New Journal has called for the creation of a ‘media bank’to ensure the survival of local newspapers.

Eric Gordon helped found the paper in 1982 with a £50,000 government-backed loan and the support of investigative journalist Paul Foot and local MP Frank Dobson.

He believes titles like the New Journal would be unable to flourish under the ‘monopolistic’ownership of one of the big regional press publishers.

Gordon bought the newspaper for £1 more than 20 years ago when it was the Camden Journal and was sold by its then owner North London News Group following an industrial dispute.

‘It’s when you get the intrusion of distant, monopolistic companies, you lose a local touch,’he told a House of Lords’ select committee this week.

‘Where you still have little villages as you do in Camden, where you have settled populations, you have people who are still interested.”

He then suggested the government could help local newspapers by setting up a ‘media bank”, adding: ‘There should be some sort of government assistance, preferably, in one form or another, a media bank to help newspapers.

‘I know this might be an unpopular viewpoint and I don’t believe in government ownership. But there should be some sort of government intervention.

‘Without it, I do fear for the future of local papers.’

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