3 mins read

UK’s regional publishers call on national advertisers to place their trust in local news brands

Open letter from 24 of the UK’s regional publishers presents candid view on extremist content and fake news connected with Google and Facebook.

24 of the UK’s leading local news publishers, including Johnston Press, Newsquest, Archant and DC Thompson, are calling on ad agencies and national brands to use local news media, rather than relying on the blind programmatic ad buying trap that is leading to household brands being placed alongside extremist, unsafe and fake news content.

In an open letter published today across the UK’s regional press, the CEOs of the UK’s longest established regional publishers highlight how local news brands, many of which now reach at least 70 per cent of the people in their respective towns and cities through their online platforms, provide a trusted, safe and highly responsive ad environment.

The key points from the letter highlight the following:

  • Local news brands publish content by thousands of trained and vastly skilled journalists and are regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the independent regulator holding publishers to account for their actions
  • By advertising in these publications, advertisers can have the peace of mind that comes with a safe advertising placement as well as reaching one of the largest digital audiences in the UK
  • Local news brands traditionally score well for trust. This was validated by a recent Comscore survey revealing local news site content is trusted almost three times more than social media content
  • Advertising helps to fund this much needed high quality local journalism. Local news brands hope advertisers will continue to support them

Newsquest, Johnston Press, Archant and DC Thompson are among those publishers represented in the national advertising market by 1XL, a premium publisher partnership that offers advertisers access to over 800 of their local news brands across the UK and Ireland in one purchase. As part of its commitment to transparency and quality within the digital advertising industry, 1XL today also publishes its own online advertising charter confirming that ads will not appear next to extremist content and fake news.

Henry Faure Walker, CEO of Newsquest said: “The crisis of confidence in the national digital advertising market continues, with advertisers increasingly exposed and worried about the dangers of blind programmatic ad buying which is placing household brands next to extremist content and fake news. Google and Facebook are keen to apologise but they don’t have credible answers.

“Our content is produced by highly skilled local journalists, it is regulated, it relies on human judgement and discretion as opposed to blind algorithms, and it reaches and engages millions of people in communities throughout the UK.  As a result, our advertising environment is trusted, safe and highly responsive.

“What’s more, advertising in local news brands continues to fund much needed high quality journalism across the UK.  We hope that ad agencies and national advertisers will better recognise the value we provide and will agree that local news brands are worth standing up for”.

Scott Gill, Managing Director of 1XL added: “1XL’s unique proposition provides advertisers with the authority to reach local audiences at scale. We believe that publishers need to come together to put pressure on other less transparent trading platforms/SSPs to introduce a recognised and endorsed system of inventory quality. We believe 1XL’s online advertising charter is setting the standard for this.”