At the end of last July things looked bleak for local news coverage, when it was announced that Kent Messenger were in the process of acquiring rival newspapers owned by Northcliffe media and right now things are not that chipper.
The Office of Fair Trading took the decision back in October to refer the proposed take over, to refer the matter to the competition commission since clearly the deal would result in market domination of news and advertising media in Kent by one company.
Anyhow as things have turned out it seems that Northcliffe Media who own the Thanet Times & Gazette are considering amalgamation with its Canterbury Times paper according to Journalism.co.uk "The three Thanet and Canterbury titles are now likely to be merged in the new year, following an review of the proposed move led by Richard Karn, Northcliffe's managing director for the south east."
Since Northcliffe have already closed newspapers in Kent and other regional newspapers, it seems likely that such a merger will remain a possiblity for some time, and this being Thanet you can just imagine, that if this goes ahead then, we will end up reading more about Canterbury than Thanet although according to wikiepedia there happen to be 132,000 of us islanders compared to 43,000 odd city dwellers.
Unfortunately much of the debate that should have taken place last didn't, for some reason BBC local news, such as it is, didn't think it was news worthy of anything other than minimal reference and why would they, local news papers to tend to report in areas that the BBC don't such as local crime and of interest to you and I local politics.
I hope that both Kent Messenger, Northcliffe manage to prosper by reporting local news, but I fear that both companies have it in mind to invest as little as possible. Perhaps one day in the near future local news coverage will depend on amateurs, hardly a reliable source, anyways I've got matters that need urgent investigation, unfortunately these are related to a computer game, LA Noire, highly absorbing and entertaining .
Still I cannot help thinking that had Kent Messenger purchased Northlcilife Media's Kent newspapers, all of Kent would have a monoculture of printed news via Kent Messenger. I hope local papers can limp on till the recession is over and or publishers have found a better way to "moneytise" their products.