Supplementary written evidence submitted
by Trinity Mirror
RESPONSE TO CLLR MARK LOVEDAY'S WRITTEN STATEMENT
REGARDING COUNCIL RUN NEWSPAPERS
In his submission to the House of Commons Select
Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on the issue of council
newspapers, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council made
various statements about Trinity Mirror plc and the newspaper
market in the council's area which we do not believe can rest
In his written statement, Cllr Mark Loveday
when commenting on our titles said that: "Trinity Mirror
does not invest in these publicationsthere is presently
one part-time news reporter (based outside the borough) for both
titles. The local titles are effectively wraparound editions of
out of borough publications with only a few pages of local content."
That statement is factually incorrect both in
terms of our investment and working practices.
Trinity Mirror employs two Senior Multimedia
Journalists, dedicated to the Borough of Fulham and Hammersmith.
The two journalists are supported by a full time Multimedia Content
Manager and a full time Multimedia Editor News.
All our multimedia Journalists work remotely.
They are equipped with the latest technology that allows them
to operate from anywhere within the Borough
A significant number of pages in the titles carry
dedicated news from Hammersmith, Fulham and Shepherd's Bush only
(ie. Fulham Chronicle4 dedicated pages with more Hammersmith
and Fulham news spread throughout the titles. Fulham Gazette9-10
Cllr Loveday also asserts that "In common
with most large unitary authorities, the Council has distributed
a regular free publication to residents for a number of years.
Its predecessor, "Hfm Magazine" was launched by the
then Council leader Cllr Andrew Slaughter (now Andrew Slaughter
MP) in January 2004. The Council now produces "H&F News",
a high quality fortnightly newspaper which accepts significant
We would argue the point is disingenuous. The
predecessor to H&F News, HFm Magazine was a monthly A4 publication
communicating with ratepayers solely on council matters and services.
H&F News is a bi-weekly tabloid newspaper which continually
steps outside its statutory need to communicate solely on council
matters by running general local news, crosswords, Sudukos, film
reviews, premiere league football reports and regular interviews
Cllr Loveday claims that the publication of
a council owned newspaper "is a highly cost-effective way
of communicating with residents. We believe strongly that it is
a good thing to raise advertising revenue to reduce the burden
on local taxpayers. As a result, the cost of H&F News continues
to fallfrom £400k in its previous incarnation Hfm
magazine to less than £5,000 last year."
This claim is misleading as (based on the council's
own figures, retrieved through a FoI request) it fails to take
into account the salaries of 3.5 FTEs (£169,668) dedicated
to the production of H&F News. Therefore, H&F News is
currently running at loss and rather than reducing the burden
on local taxpayers is actually increasing the burden.
Similarly his claim that "H&F News
has high readership
and high reader approval
because it is a product that residents enjoy (our emphasis) reading."
Is equally misleading.
The council's own research states the following:
81% of readers think H&F News is
71% say contains lots of useful information
69% say it tells them what they need
to know about the borough
* Source: Media and Reputation Survey conducted
by Facts International and commissioned on behalf H&F by Westminster
City Council, 600 people telephoned in March 2009.
The research did not look at enjoyment
but only at what readers thought about H&F News.
140 63% of residents read H&F News, according to
the 2009 Media & Reputation Survey Back
81% of readers say H&F News is informative, according to the
2009 Media & Reputation Survey Back