Newspaper display in M&S Charlton, 17 April 2020
The big names in media are rightly being supported. But what about the smaller ones?

Yesterday, the government launched a public health campaign that will not reach you. It won’t reach you because the government has not included independently-owned community news outlets like 853 in its campaign.

The All in, All together campaign is a welcome response from the government to provide essential information at this time. It is also a demonstration of the government’s support for the press.

However, unless you managed to find a copy of the Evening Standard, or bought a national newspaper, you will not have heard about it.

853 is a member of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN), which is the official trade body for independent community news publishers. Other members include our London neighbours The Lewisham Ledger, London SE1, East End Enquirer, Hackney Citizen, Brixton Blog, Waltham Forest Echo and Inside Croydon. Together, we reach over five million people online each month, and over half a million in print. This makes us part of the fourth largest news publishing organisation in the UK.

Organisations like ours are the true frontline key workers in this industry who are keeping our communities afloat with genuine, accurate and important information during this pandemic. Sadly, we are also the ones most at risk from the current crisis. The impact of Covid-19 on organisations like ours could have a catastrophic impact on public health across the UK.

Yet the Government has seen fit to exclude us from its public health campaign. And that means they have excluded you too.

It is critical for public health that organisations like ours continue to give essential, verified and useful information to the communities we serve. Any public health campaign that does not include publications like ours is insufficient and is a dereliction of the government’s duty to communities at this time.

This is why we are calling on your support to demand urgent action from the government to support organisations like ours at this time and give us an equal share of its public health advertising spend.

We need this so that we can continue to bring you the valued and trusted news you have come to expect from us and rely on.

ICNN titles have joined forces to run this shared comment piece to demand equal treatment when it comes to these government campaigns. Please share this article with family and friends and on social media using the hashtag #saveindependentnews.

If you like what 853 does, please support us with a monthly donation via Steady, PressPatron or Patreon. To those who already donate – thank you; your generosity is keeping this site running and helping us invest in journalism – not clickbait – at a time when our communities so desperately need it.