The pandemic continued to highlight the powerful role news brands hold in helping the public navigate the ongoing crisis. An Ofcom report found newspapers are one of the top media sources on Covid-19, reaffirming the importance of trusted, quality journalism produced by news media publishers.

New audience data from JICREG Life is Local, the gold standard for local media audience measurement, showed that audiences for local news media surged by 17.9 per cent as more people than ever before sought out trusted, local journalism, with 42 million people now accessing local media in print and digital each month.

Regional publishers such as Reach plc and Newsquest announced major new investments in local journalism with recruitment drives across the country.

The NMA has continued to press for a fairer online ecosystem for publishers including making the case for the new regulator, the Digital Markets Unit, urgently to be given the statutory tools it needs to level the playing field between the tech platforms and news publishers.

The NMA has also continued to call for a robust and workable exemption for journalistic content to be written onto the face of the Online Safety Bill, ensuring freedom of speech and the public’s right to know is protected by the new regime.

The government launched its first ever national action plan to protect journalists from abuse and harassment, supporting the wider work on upholding freedom of speech and protecting journalistic content from censorship.