I was in London last week and met up with a few friends at a pub after a football — sorry, soccer — match. Knowing I work in the news media space, my pal Andy asked if I had been following along with the Prime Minister’s interviews on September 29. I admitted that while I was picking up the Metro and Evening Standard every time I saw a paper stand, I hadn’t been following that story.
But I should have been! Andy filled me in: After the new PM and her cabinet passed a mini-budget earlier in the week, backlash had come in strong. The PM agreed to do an interview to explain the plan behind the budget. Rather than take the interview with the national arm of the BBC, she choose eight regional BBC stations and gave them each 5-6 minutes for an interview. The idea was that local stations would go easier on her.
That couldn’t have been more wrong. (Here’s where all the local news publishers are nodding their heads in agreement.) The eight stations used their brief time to ask direct questions and often repeated questions earlier stations had asked, making the PM repeat herself. No matter which side of the British political aisle you were on, it was “brutal.”
Local and independent news publishers may be underestimated, but we know the value and importance of the work you’re doing. You’re getting into the real details that matter to your readers and holding local leaders accountable to their actions and how those actions affect the community — the same as those eight regional BBC stations. (My friend Andy says, “Keep on.”)
I hope this story makes you feel less like an island — connected to local, independent media around the world in your shared standards of journalistic integrity and hard work to get your readers the answers they need.