Ben Fogle Backs Local Press in Fight Against Fake News

Ben Fogle has backed highly trusted local newspapers and local journalism in the fightback against fake news for this year’s Local Newspaper Week.

In an article for this year’s LNW, the adventurer and television star has issued a passionate defence of free speech and local newspapers which underpin democracy by holding authority to account and campaigning on behalf of their readers.

In the article, which will be made available on the LNW website for local papers to run during LNW as part of their coverage, Ben says that local papers are crucial in the fightback against fake news which subverts and undermines democracy.

Ben writes: “Local newspapers and their millions of readers are part of the fightback against fake news. By producing high quality, trusted local journalism, local papers actively counter the misinformation and falsehood which can spread so rapidly through other channels.”

Ben’s intervention in the debate around fake news comes after publishers represented by 1XL – including Johnston Press, Newsquest, Archant and DC Thomson – wrote an open letter to advertisers and agencies highlighting the highly trusted commercial environment provided by local media.

The Drum reported that local media is seeing an uplift in adspend because ad agencies and national brands are turning to highly trusted local press rather than risk blind programmatic buying which has seen global brands being placed next to extremist and unsafe content.

Run by Local Media Works, this year’s LNW (15-21 May) will celebrate the high levels of trust in placed local media and the fightback against fake news through trusted local journalism alongside Making a Difference which celebrates powerful local newspaper campaigning.

The Fightback Against Fake News section has gone live on the LNW website with key stats and filler ads highlighting the highly trusted nature of local media for local papers to run during LNW. Supporters can also participate by supporting the LNW and Making a Difference Thunderclap.   

LMW chairman Craig Nayman said: “As an industry, local media has a real opportunity to shout about our highly trusted local journalism which is part of the fightback against fake news.

“I would urge all local newspapers to participate in Local Newspaper Week this year and send a clear message to our readers and customers that we are the market leader in trust.” 

As part of the LNW activity, members of the public will be invited to vote their favourite local newspaper campaign from a showcase of 28 powerful Making a Difference campaigns on the LNW website.

The vote will go live at the start of LNW and the winner will be announced by NMA chairman Ashley Highfield at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards on 19 May.