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Why regional and local publishers are winning readers’ trust

With the rise of smartphones and digital platforms over the last ten years, online news content has risen exponentially. While undoubtedly this has put pressure on the publishers of regional and local newspapers, it has also created an exciting prospect for them.

An opportunity to earn audience trust

A survey from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found that trust in social media is declining. The research found that just 18% of those in the UK believe that social media does a good job of separating fact from fiction.

These circumstances have fostered a unique opportunity for local and regional newspapers, as a good example of being a source of information in the media.

Establishing trust with audiences is a topic that was echoed at the recent Digital Journalism Summit, hosted by Press Gazette. In the words of Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker, “Local news brands beat Facebook hands down when it comes to trust and relevance”.

The importance of this cannot be understated for regional and local publishers. While trust in credibility has declined in the ever-increasingly fragmented world of the general media, regional and local publishers can boast long-standing credibility with their audiences.

In fact, Faure Walker stressed this when he went on to say, “At Newsquest most of our daily news sites are read at least once a month by over 70% of adults in our respective towns and cities across the U.K.  When you consider that Facebook’s audience penetration is only 50% and now plateauing, you start to appreciate the power of local news brands.”

Another attendee of the Summit, Alison Gow of Trinity Mirror Regionals, built on this, saying: “People care about what affects them, and the human faces at the front of it. Gain the trust of people – know your patch, and get good content. Let people tell the story.”

With a focus on what’s happening in the community, local and regional papers have a track record of putting people at the heart of their news content and in turn, earn trust with their readers.

An opportunity to deliver trust to advertisers

Trust builds brand loyalty; something that’s particularly important as news consumption habits evolve.  In an ever-changing and challenging market, regional publishers are working together, not against each other. One result of this collaboration is 1XL, which represents over 30 regional newspaper publishers.

Speaking directly to NLA media access, Faure Walker (also one of the founders of 1XL) said: Online, local news sites are nearly three times more trusted than social media. Brands who advertise with us know that they will not appear next to any inappropriate content.  Unlike Facebook or YouTube, our content is curated and checked by thousands of hard-working professional journalists up and down the country.

“And because of this we deliver great results for our advertisers.  Through industry collaboration such as 1XL, which brings together 30 regional publishers across the UK, we have also become much easier to transact with.

“It is vital that national advertisers and their ad agencies make the most of what we have to offer as a sector.  And they can do so in the knowledge that advertising with us also helps to sustain great local journalism, a great public good and a backbone of local democracy.”

What NLA media access is doing in the fight for real news  

NLA works hard to support publishers wherever possible and will continue to do so.  The company not only provides copyright protection to these trusted publishers, but it also returns over 80 per cent of revenue back to national and regional publishers allowing them to reinvest this money into supporting quality journalism.

If you want to find out more about what we do, head to the company’s website: 

And to take a look at what NLA is doing to help combat fake news, find out about our OATS product here.