Toad’ll-oo, tickety-boo! Hackney Today will be there for you — still fortnightly, despite press protests

HackneyTH16: Hackney E8 010416 © David.Altheer[at]gmail.com
Hackney town hall: Stalinist architecture at its best… perfect for a Pravda?

HACKNEY TODAY, the freesheet that claims a circulation of more than 100,000, is winning its fight for the right to publish fortnightly.

Like Waltham Forest council’s Waltham Forest News, the Hackney Toady, as it is known, has persuaded Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid to set aside the deadline, due this month February 2018, to satisfy his department’s order to publish no more often than quarterly. Both papers come out once a fortnight.

The Hackney Gazette and other local newspapers are alarmed that the Conservative government’s long-running attempt to clamp down on these rivals for local advertising is failing.

The News Media Association has demanded an explanation from Javid. Association deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson expressed “deep concern” that the government may be retreating from closing “town hall Pravdas, which have been exposed as nothing more than pernicious propaganda and a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

RMTmodel: Routemaster bus Lledo model for Hackney Gazette © David Altheer
Routed: Hackney Gazette is losing readers

She added: “Independent local newspapers are the only voices holding local authorities to account but they face tough economic conditions.”

Most are fighting for survival, among them the Gazette, its circulation having fallen to four figures, less than a tenth of what it was two decades ago.

The councils counter that freesheets are the most cost-effective way of talking to residents and an ideal forum for planning applications and statutory notices.

Hamish Scott 130218

* Backstory: Hackney Toady freesheet to close; Hackney hipster media crash

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