Maldon MP Sir John Whittingdale urges government to support online news, mentioning Nub News in House of Commons

By The Editor

8th Dec 2022 | Local News

Sir John Whittingdale referred to Nub News during a debate in the House of Commons today.
Sir John Whittingdale referred to Nub News during a debate in the House of Commons today.

FORMER Cabinet media minister and Maldon's MP, Sir John Whittingdale, has called on the government to ensure it supports local online news platforms and uses their effectiveness as a way of informing communities.

Sir John is a keen advocate of ensuring the government recognises the value of online media.

The growing success of Nub News – which this week launched its latest platform serving Stoke - has seen the company grow since launching with just a few sites in 2018 to now publishing to more than 50 local communities across the UK, including our own Maldon Nub News.

Sir John says he has watched the company's success with great interest and has spoken many times with company founder Karl Hancock and he is hoping to persuade the government to make more use of the Nub News sites and other locally founded and sourced news online news platforms.

In the House of Commons today (Thursday, 8 December) Sir John challenged fellow Essex MP and junior minister Alex Burghart about his view of locally-based publishers and asked: "What recent assessment have you made of the effectiveness of Government information campaigns in local media?"

Mr Burghart, MP for Brentwood and Ongar and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office with responsibility for supporting the Cabinet regarding the government's communications service, responded by saying: "The government monitors the effectiveness of its communications campaigns, and we recognise the enormous trust the public has in local media.

"And, therefore, the important role it plays in spreading our messages.

"As just one example, the recent press partnership on access to NHS services used local media to inform the public of where to seek medical advice. 67 per cent of readers said they trusted the articles - highlighting local print's importance to the community."

That prompted an immediate challenge from Sir John, who wanted an assurance that online media will get fair treatment.

He said: "My friend is absolutely right about the power of local media in getting across vital health messages.

"But will he look at ensuring that local online only publishers like Nub News are included in future campaigns as well as local print media?"

Mr Burghart responded: "I thank my honourable friend for his question, I know he knows a great deal about this subject. And I completely agree with him that, all in, all together in harness, the power of media was particularly effective at reaching specific audiences to spread vital information.

"Obviously as he will appreciate, sometimes we want a more targeted approach so that we get better, cost effectiveness but I should also say to him that we use OmniGov and should any local outlets online or otherwise wish to be part of that list they can do so by contacting OmniGov directly."