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Not a bad reply from the Local Press

May 1, 2015 10:44 AM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

John MarriottFrom: [] On Behalf Of John Marriott
Sent: 30 April 2015 08:22
To: Charles Walker
Subject: The 'front' page of today's Echo

Dear Editor,

I am really surprised that the Lincolnshire Echo, a newspaper I have read assiduously for nearly 40 years and which has been kind enough to print many of my letters and articles for most of that period, has decided to 'publish' an extra front page today extolling the virtues of the Conservative Party.

I am sure that this was a business arrangement and would hopefully not reflect the political views of your newspaper, which appears, in the time I have been a subscriber, to have prided itself on its impartiality.

I am fully aware that other newspapers have, from time to time, had similar arrangements with advertisers and I know how important advertising is to the survival of our provincial newspapers. I am sure that you might reply that your readers are clever enough to spot an advert when they see it. Some may be; but I am not so sure about many people.

However, surely even you must see that, for many people, this 'arrangement' may look suspiciously like an endorsement of Mr Cameron and his Tories on your part. I can assure you that my feelings would be the same had any other party featured in this way, even my own!

Yours faithfully,

Cllr John Marriott

Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 8:25 AM
Subject: RE: The 'front' page of today's Echo

Councillor Marriott

Thank you for your email.

You are right, of course, the "wrap" around this week's edition of the Lincolnshire Echo is a paid for advert. And you are also correct in your acknowledgement that The Echo is a commercial organisation operating in a tough market place. While this advert may be a departure from the type The Echo has carried in the past, the fact is we sell advertising in a similar way to titles up and down the country. (This particular advert was wrapped around a number of other local titles across England this week).

Clearly we hope that by selling adverts we can turn a small profit but also - and this is the bit that matters to me most - it pays for the journalists and production staff who produce The Echo each week and deliver online content every day. This may be stating the obvious but I think it is worth reminding ourselves of it. As you suggest, local papers have come under huge pressure in recent years but we are pleased that since this newspaper became a weekly publication we have enjoyed relative stability and maintained a healthy number of journalists working in Lincolnshire. This is very important and it is certainly not the case everywhere.

I accept we may differ in our views of how people interpret this advert but I would like to assure you of the continued political impartiality of The Echo. It is worth noting that on the front page of this week's Echo there is also an advert for the Labour Party. I mention it only to underline the fact that no party has been offered special treatment. More importantly, the editorial team at The Echo remains as committed now as it has always been to reporting in a fair, accurate and balanced fashion. That has not and will not change.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write. I sincerely hope you will continue to take The Echo. And I would be delighted to meet with you and introduce you to members of our team in the hope that will provide further reassurance of our continued commitment to the city and county as a whole. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Charles Walker

07803 592032

Charles Walker
Acting Editor

Tel: 01522804347
Lincolnshire Media
Ground Floor
Witham Wharf
Brayford Wharf East