Sunday, 12 October 2014

What Happened To Our Local Newspaper?

The Chronicle is no more
The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle is dead, killed off by the broad decline of print journalism which is now so advanced that the passing of a local newspaper barely attracts any media attention. Partly, of course, that is because there is now hardly anyone left to report its passing. And this is a problem for our local community in The Bush. Who will hold the powerful to account now that the watchdogs of democracy - our free press - has been closed?

Most residents of our borough probably knew the Chronicle as a free sheet which was pushed through the door, and likely found its way into the recycling bin after a quick flick through to see if there was anything of interest. Bridge closures, supermarket openings, stuff to do with the kids on the weekend - such was its local coverage.

Hammersmith Park - facing privatisation?
But local news is necessary, and often of far more importance to us locals than international events. It was through the Chronicle that I learned about Shepherd's Bush resident and columnist Virginia Ironside's campaign to save Hammersmith Park from partial privatisation - plans which had mysteriously not been brought to the attention of resident's associations in the neighbourhood. What can be more important to residents than the future of the park where we take our children to play? And, if the Council cannot be trusted to bring such changes to our attention, who will report them?

With the end of Chris Underwood's excellent Shepherd's Bush Blog (now discontinued, and even its archived stories sadly offline), proper reporting of what is going on in our neighbourhood is scarcer than ever.

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