Today the government has launched a public health campaign that will not reach you. It won’t reach you because the government has not included independently owned community news publishers like South Leeds Life in its campaign.
The All in, all together campaign is a welcome response from the government to provide essential information at this time. It is also a demonstration of the government’s support for the press.
However, unless you pick up a copy of the Yorkshire Evening Post or a national newspaper, you will not have heard about it.
South Leeds Life is a member of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN), which is the official trade body for independent community news publishers. Together, we reach over 5m people online each month, and over half a million in print. This makes us part of the fourth largest news publishing organisation in the UK.
Organisations like ours are the true frontline key workers in this industry who are keeping our communities afloat with genuine, accurate and important information during this pandemic.
Sadly, we are also the ones most at risk from the current crisis. The impact of COVID-19 on organisations like ours could have a catastrophic impact on public health across the UK.
Yet the Government has seen fit to exclude us from its public health campaign. And that means they have excluded you too.
Hilary Benn MP (Leeds Central) commented:
“Independent publications like South Leeds Life are vital to local communities like ours, especially at times like this. We need to keep them going through this crisis so that they can carry on serving local people once it’s over. The problem is that advertising revenue has been severely hit, so one way Government could help would be to place public health information advertisements in these newspapers.”
It is critical for public health that organisations like ours continue to give essential, verified and useful information to the communities we serve.
Any public health campaign that does not include publications like ours is insufficient and is a dereliction of the government’s duty to communities at this time.
This is why we are calling on your support to demand urgent action from the Government to support organisations like ours at this time and give us an equal share of its public health advertising spend.
We need this so that we can continue to bring you the valued and trusted news you have come to expect from us and rely on.
Please share this article with family and friends and on social media using the hashtag: #saveindependentnews.
Image: The Government paid for a four full page wraparound in this morning’s Guardian