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June 4, 2015updated 07 Nov 2023 5:58am

Map of UK’s local newspapers and websites reveals London news gap

By Emily Shackleton

London is one of the least covered region in the UK by local newspapers according to new research by Press Gazette.

Data detailing all the current active local newspapers in the UK reveals that London has less newspapers per million of population compared to other regions in the country.

The research shows London having 11 local newspapers per million population count, compared with Northern Ireland which has 33.

The North East also has 11 and Yorkshire and the Humber has 12.

Interactive map of local and regional publications per million population

Click on each region to see the number of newspapers.

Press Gazette launched an investigation into the spread of the UK's 1,060 local newspapers across the country after the Carnegie UK Trust released its "The Future's Bright – The Future's Local" report last year.

With a series of proposals, the report urged the Government to support the hyperlocal press sector to fill the gaps left behind by newspaper closures.

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Previous research by Press Gazette in 2012 revealed that there had been 242 paper closures in the previous seven years and 70 launches.

Local newspapers have continued to close since, with Press Gazette revealing in January that there had been a net reduction of 181 UK local newspapers since 2005.

ABC circulation figures for 2014 reveal that 93 per cent of the 1048 audited newspapers saw circulation fall year on year. Only three out of 311 paid-for weekly and daily UK regional newspapers audited by ABC grew their sales year on year in 2014.

In 2015, 11 newspapers have been closed – all by Trinity Mirror – and ten have launched, or announced intentions to launch: four Tindle newspapers in South London as well as the Fulham Chronicle, Newsquest's Wilmslow Guardian, the community-run Salford Star, Local World's Grantham Target, The Times of Tunbridge Wells, owned by One Media And Creative UK, and Trinity Mirror's Manchester Weekly News, which replaced eight closing titles.

Lauren Pennycook, policy officer for the Carnegie UK Trust, said: "From 2013, the Trust has been working on connecting local news with better democracy and plurality. It has been helping to support innovation and local journalism.

"The traditional newspaper business model of advertising is increasingly unsustainable. Local businesses advertise in local papers less and less.

"We support a nimble and agile approach to local news, which hyperlocals adopt."

London is one of the most covered areas by online community news outlets, making up almost a fifth of the UK's 243 hyperlocal news sites that Press Gazette found to be active out of the 703 websites listed on the website Openly Local.

James Hatts, editor of the hyperlocal website London SE1, which covers all areas within that London postcode, said that traditional local news reporting was "under pressure".

"You only have to look at the South London Press who cover the same area as us to see that. There are three reporters on the paper when there used to be twice as many," he said.

"It means that there is less attention given to local government and local news. It is part of the gap we are trying to fill, but we are only scratching the surface.

"There are big areas of London where coverage is non-existent."

Last November saw the launch of four local newspapers in London to fill these news coverage gaps by Tindle Newspapers: Westminster and Pimlico News, Kensington News, Chelsea News and London Weekly News.

Philip Evans, the joint managing director of the new group running the publications, said that the newspapers were launched "following recent closures of newspapers by other groups".

"There was a hole in the market in two London boroughs: City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. They were left without a local newspaper.

"After four editions [of the papers], we are encouraged by the response by readers and potential advertisers."

Westminster and Pimlico News, Kensington News and Chelsea News were defunct papers resurrected by the Tindle Newspapers group, which now appear in London Weekly News that is distributed in central London.

Tindle's new local newspapers are mostly localised editions produced by existing journalists and have been seen by the company as a way of avoiding the compulsory redundancies which other regional newspaper groups have been forced to make.

Very few of the new ultra local websites which have been launched around the country make enough money to employ staff journalists.

London SE1 is believed to be one of the most successful local news websites in London and employs Hatts full-time. But he said that a sustainable future for local journalism was "difficult to see" in London and nationally, admitting that despite running since 1998 they "don't count ourselves as a success".

"There is no magic formula. It isn't going to be easy for anyone."

Interactive map of the spread of local/regional and hyperlocal publications

Click on the markers for information about individual publications. To see the data with full circulation figures, go here.

Research was compiled together with the aid of Jicreg, British Newspapers Online, Office of National Statistics, ABC and Openly Local as well as Press Gazette's archives. If there is a publication missing, please let us know so we can update our database.

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