The regional press has nothing to fear from tighter regulation in the wake of the Leveson Report, according to a former Rutland and Stamford Mercury editor.
It’s the view of De Montfort University Journalism lecturer Tor Clark, published in a new book about how Leveson will change the UK media.
After Leveson: The Future for British Journalism, edited by John Mair, has just been published by Abramis and includes articles by leading lights of UK journalism including former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans and former Guardian editor Peter Preston, as well as ten professors of Journalism from leading university Journalism departments across the UK.
Mr Clark’s chapter argues that although the regional press is unfairly treated, in that it did not cause the problems which led to Leveson - and indeed was lauded by the judge in his final report - it has little to fear from tougher regulation because statistics prove it is least likely to commit the types of offences which led to the scandal, such as phone hacking.
Mr Clark, a former editor of regional newspapers the Rutland and Stamford Mercury and the Harborough and Lutterworth Mail, said: “As a journalist, I am largely out of step with a lot of my profession, but after years of working in and then studying the regional press, I really don’t believe Leveson is any threat at all to responsible local media - which the vast majority of it is.”
After 16 years working in the regional press, he has concentrated his academic research in this area. His previous book chapter, published a year ago in What Do We Mean By Local? also edited by John Mair, looked at the future prospects for the UK’s regional newspapers.