Plea for support as local newspapers feel the pinch

The lockdown has left many local newspapers struggling to stay afloat with sales down 20% and advertising revenue diminishing.

But the demand for a local news service is growing, with more and more people turning to online news.

Reporters at The News in Portsmouth are directly appealing to the public for support.

We see ourselves as the lifeblood of the local community and these days it is vital we still have people out there talking to our readers, keeping them informed and entertained and also just proving that connection, keeping people together in times of isolation and uncertainty. The vast majority of our team are still out there working."

Mark Waldron, Editor, The News

The Newbury Weekly News, which has served West Berkshire for more than 150 years, has temporarily closed its newsroom and reporters are working from home.

We have staff that are furloughed. We keep in touch with them as much as we can, the team is very close. There are 28 people in the whole of the company. We keep each other's spirits up and focus on what we are trying to do, keep a vital news service going for local people."

Andy Murrill, Editor, Newbury Weekly News

Newspapers are accustomed to having two revenue streams, they sell copies and they sell space to advertisers. At the moment, the advertisers are not spending in print or online so newspapers are losing revenue both from sales and advertising."

Professor Tim Luckhurst, Professor of Journalism

At the Kent Messenger the offices may be empty but work goes on.

Newspapers are trying different ways to increase revenue by offering free delivery or asking readers to subscribe to a digital service.

People are finding different ways to access the news that we provide and of course a lot of shops have closed because of the pandemic so it's only right they are finding other means to try and access that information. We have got things like apps which allow you to download a digital copy of the paper."

Denise Eaton, Editor, Kent Messenger