The journalism news and job website, Press Gazette has created an interactive map, ‘Mind the News Gap’, which shows UK local newspaper launches and closures from 2005 to 2011. The map also pinpoints ‘news gaps’ around the UK that are no longer covered by professional journalists.
The research finds that at least 242 local newspapers have closed between 2005 and the end of 2011, while only 70 have launched.
Port Talbot in South Wales, which has a population of 50,000 has been without a local paper since 2009, when the Trinity Mirror newspaper group closed the Port Talbot and Neath Guardians.
Pronounced shortages of local news can be seen in Rugeley in Lancashire, Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Leominster in Herefordshire and Long Eaton in Derbyshire.
The south of the country has seen the most closures, although that is partly due to the large number of local titles that have always existed in and around London.
Press Gazette points out that in some areas independent entrepreneurs have launched new titles in place of the regional publishing groups, which have been closing local papers.
Stuart Parker, the Managing Director of Extra Newspapers launched three fortnightly newspapers last month, in a bid to cover areas where there was a shortage of local news.
Press Gazette’s interactive map allows users to see where newspaper closures are concentrated though at present the map seems to have some technical problems. To see the map click here
To read about The Journalism Foundation’s support of local news website Pits n Pots click here