It’s sometimes said that no news is good news, well myself I’m not to sure, and reading this article from the Independent, which speculates on the future of Kent’s local press.
Some of you will be aware of Kent Messengers proposed takeover of Kent Regional Newspaper titles which include locally the Gazette and Times, many will not be aware because neither newspaper publishers have chosen to discuss it other than a bland notice, the outcome will almost certainly be decided with no reference to the public.
While its understandable that local publishers would be reluctant to discuss their own interests, it is not as far as I know, an issue in which state broadcaster BBC has not bothered to discuss, despite BBC’s claims to be unique etc.
Assuming KM Group acquire a monopoly of local newspapers, they will be able to charge, what they like for advertising with no comparable competition, and of course they will be the only professional news gatherers in Kent’s districts, so news gathering will be dependant on the whim of the management of KM since there will no longer be any alternative to judge them by.
The Independent is saying that industry experts, expect the Office of Fair Trade, to allow the deal to go through, without of course, any proper debate, as I’ve already mentioned, local publishers have pretty much remained schtum, and no surprise the regional BBC Kent or South East haven’t covered the issue, they simply don’t have the competitive journalistic skills or understanding of the implications locally or indeed nationally, as its clear that if KM group get the go ahead, it will set a precedent that other newspaper publishers will be anxious to replicate, regional monopolies, across the country.
Finally when did you last see (for readers in Thanet) the KM Extra? I’ve not seen a copy for some time although the last one I saw, gave no evidence that Kent Messenger Group had much of an investment in news gathering.