Accountability vacuum left by decline of local press

The Guardian has an interesting and important piece relating the decline of local press to the catastrophe at Grenfell Tower

“the evisceration of any sustainable professional journalism at the local level creates both an accountability vacuum and a distance between media and the communities it reports on”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2017/jun/25/grenfell-reflects-the-accountability-vacuum-left-by-crumbling-local-press

There is also a story from two years ago:

“Unreported Britain: without local newspapers, who is keeping tabs?”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/23/unreported-britain-without-local-newspapers-who-is-keeping-tabs

I think this highlights the importance of forums like this, especially in areas like Lewisham where (1) the move to an Executive Mayor and Cabinet (away from traditional committee-based decision making) has brought more secrecy and deterioration of record-keeping and therefore ability to scrutinize (2) the political opposition is negligible, and the elected Councillors seem unwilling or unable to question or criticize any aspect of council policy or process.

The answer to the question “Who is keeping tabs”? has to be that we in this forum must be part of it.

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Totally agree with you.

This forum “crowdsources” both its content and its editorial function. Every new member extends our reach into local issues. Every new moderator makes our editorial more balanced and neutral.

If it were just me in charge, we’d be nothing more than a blog. But with the great team we have, we’re building a local resource that’s far more interesting and balanced. I am keen, as always, to bring more people onboard.

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Another nicely-written and relevant article in a blog I recently discovered:

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It’s a good piece: here’s a sample quote:

“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.” Nelson Mandela, 1994

and another

“who’s doing the dirty work on a daily basis? Going to the magistrate courts to follow up on crimes committed in Lewisham? Quizzing the police? Dutifully attending council meetings? Scrutinising planning permissions? Looking into the dramatic cuts into the council’s budget and how they are being managed? Tracking Lewisham’s woefully troubled secondary schools? And crucially, telling the wider world impartially what they find?”

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