Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

MP's fears over local newspapers

Newspaper printing press generic
Concerns have been raised about fewer reporters covering courts

The decline of local newspapers could have a "profound effect" in some areas, a Worcestershire MP has warned.

Conservative MP for Bromsgrove Julie Kirkbride said if cutbacks and office closures continued some people may find it hard to find out any local news.

Her warning came as administrators tried to find a buyer for Observer Standard Newspapers.

The firm employs 150 people and has free newspapers in the West Midlands, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Ms Kirkbridge, who writes a column in the Bromsgrove Standard, said: "Some areas may lose all their local news content and that will have a dreadful impact locally because it will be difficult to know what's going on in your own backyard."

Observer Standards Newspapers went into administration earlier this month, blaming the move on a drop in advertising revenue.

Court reporting

Administrators Grant Thornton said they were talking to potential buyers and no redundancies were planned, but the situation was being kept under review.

The Magistrates' Association has also expressed concerns that fewer reporters across the UK were covering court proceedings.

Deputy chairman of the association, John Howson, told the BBC it challenged the "underlying principle" that what happened in court must be communicated to the general public.

On Thursday, culture minister Barbara Follett pledged the government would "work tirelessly to secure news for local communities".

An Early Day Motion, signed by 73 MPs, said more than 1,000 local news posts have been lost since last summer.

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