The Chronicle actually ran a failed campaign against H&F News which included an advertising van turning up outside David Cameron's house in the run up to the last general election. But it was the intervention of the Government after the election that finally signed the death warrant for the paper.
The Chronicle has now agreed to carry the propaganda instead which will be written by the same press officers and presumably will continue to be as one-sided. This will include not only copious extra pages but also inserts as well, all paid for by us.
I know I am not the only one to have noticed a distinct lack of crticism coming from the Chronicle in recent weeks towards the Council, as this article which reports on African gangs targetting Shepherd's Bush while police numbers are cut demonstrates. Not only were they a week behind this blog on even reporting the story at all, but they talked at length about the gangs - but made just a passing reference to cuts to police. Not relevant? or just not convenient to mention? You be the judge.
Speaking as the deal was unveiled Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh said this:
“We have been incredibly proud to have published H&F News but this agreement is a positive step forward for the borough's residents as we have secured an effective way of communicating our news, while delivering real value for money. As a result we will continue to have one of the lowest communication costs of any London borough.While Simon Edgley, Managing Director of Trinity Mirror Southern, said:
“Additionally, this illustrates our commitment to supporting a vibrant independently produced newspaper in the borough.”
“We are not only absolutely delighted to sign this agreement, but also that our titles and websites will play such a significant part in ensuring that residents of Hammersmith & Fulham remain appropriately informed.”So whatever you read in the Chronicle from hereonin - just bear in mind where the money's coming from. Because as we can see with the Murdoch press - money talks.
1350 UPDATE: Chronicle/H&F News journalist Adam Courtney has been in touch and he is not a happy bunny. Here's what he says about how the article he wrote about rising crime in Shepherd's Bush only merited a passing reference to the fact that the police are having their numbers slashed:
actually quite concerned at the prospect of rising crime and at the same time police numbers going down - that's the "strongest news angle" to them. As are the police themselves if you actually talk to them. The point is nobody is now going to be sure why the Chronicle has of late chosen a much softer editorial line towards the Council of which this article is only the latest example. But given the huge amounts of money the Council will be spending with the paper I think we can all guess.
Adam goes on to charge that this article itself is "tosh", here's what he has to say:
who used his own paper's public Twitter feed to try for jobs elsewhere - so all's well there then.
He has also conceded, in another message to me, that Council press office staff may well be physically transferred into the Chronicle's own building to work directly on propagandising in the paper, as per the business agreement between Council and paper. But that they will be in a different room. So that's OK then.