New research from the NMA shows that editors have grave concerns over the business practices of the tech platforms, with 90 per cent of editors believing that Google and Meta pose an existential threat to journalism.
Speaking on the issue Katie French, regional group editor at Newsquest, said: “While tech platforms have greatly enhanced our way of life by allowing unrestricted access to information and increased connection, they have severely impacted the business of news, and news brands such as my own have not been fairly compensated.
“My titles have more readers than ever before in their history thanks to the global and national audiences our online content is exposed to. However, we receive very little in the way of fair remuneration for the rich and high-quality service our content provides even by hosting our content or signposting readers to our stories through search engines.
“Our very presence is giving credibility to these platforms that otherwise would be filled with clickbait nonsense and unregulated information.”
The poll also found that 86 per cent of editors agreed that the BBC’s plans to cut its local radio provision and expand its online local news content in competition with local newspaper sites will damage independent local journalism in the UK.
This comes after much criticism from the local news media industry that the BBC’s plans would take much-needed readers and revenue away from local news brands and force them to compete with the might of the licence fee model.
Speaking at the NMA’s Journalism Matters parliamentary reception on Tuesday, editor of The Sun Victoria Newton said: “Original journalism everywhere should be protected, as should the publishers that spend and invest in journalism.
“I make a special mention for our vital local newspapers, without whom court cases and local democracy would go unreported. These outlets should also be protected from the BBC’s expansionist activities, which risk driving them out of the market.”
On tech platforms enforcing news blackouts, 77 per cent agreed they would weaken democratic engagement by limiting public access to trusted news.
Simon Murfitt, senior editor at Newsquest London, said: “The majority of our readers get their news from Google or Facebook. A news blackout would mean our readers would replace trusted local news with unfounded speculation on social media, which could be very harmful to public discourse.”
Additionally, the survey also found that 97 per cent of editors agreed that the risk to the public from AI-generated misinformation ahead of a potential general election next year is greater than ever before.
NMA chief executive Owen Meredith said: “The findings of our survey clearly show the huge level of concern from editors about the impact of the tech platforms’ activities on the sustainability of journalism.
“The government must resist pressure from the tech platforms to water down the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill and pass this sensible legislation – which will help to level the playing field between platforms and publishers and spur innovation and competition across the UK digital economy.”Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.