Investigated: council coverage in the Witney Gazette, Banbury Cake and Cotswold Journal

Three more local newspapers have been covered as part of the investigation into local council coverage.

The Witney Gazette sees 2.5 of its 20 pages of news devoted to council affairs in the local and surrounding council authorities;

The Banbury Cake sees 1.25 of its 13 pages of news devoted to council affairs – although the dominance of advertising means there are actually only the equivalent of around 4.5 news pages when that is taken into account.

The Cotswold Journal had around 26 pages of news, although 4 of those are dominated by ads. Of the remaining space, 2 pages are devoted to the local council and a few more that cover neighbouring councils. Nell Darby writes:

“Perhaps what the Cotswold Journal shows best is that it must be pretty much impossible to get adequate council coverage in the newspaper given the limited staffing and the large area the paper covers. Attending county, district and parish or town council meetings in four different counties can’t be feasible – one person can only be in one place at one time.

“Hence a reliance on press releases or short, less detailed, stories. Where there are longer stories, human interest seems to be a factor – profiles are popular. Often, the council perspective seems to be a last minute insertion or an extra quote, rather than being the nub of the story.”

The investigation continues. If you want to help look at the same or different newspapers, join it here.

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