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Regional media put in the spotlight.

THE future of the region's media will be put under the spotlight by leading industry figures in the North East at a conference next month.

Hosted by Sunderland University it will bring together editors, media executives, regulators, policy-makers, academics and leading journalists to highlight the challenges facing the newspaper, radio and television sector outside London.

Labour's shadow media minister Helen Goodman is one of the keynote speakers.

She said: "I welcome this conference as an opportunity to raise my concern about the economic threats facing regional and local media.

"There is a clear need to look again at media ownership rules. It is ironic that the Kent Messenger merger of local papers could not get the go-ahead while News Corp/BSkyB deal was almost waved through.

"Clearly we need to set rules that prevent the domination of the media by large multi-national corporations, while at the same time facilitating viable business models to flourish at local and regional level.

"Local and regional media are vital for our democracy. They hold local authorities to account and support local identity and culture."

Other confirmed speakers include ITV's political correspondent Gerry Foley and Sky News' associate editor Simon Bucks.

Graeme Thompson, dean of arts, design and media at the university, said: "The national headlines are obviously dominated by the crisis facing the national Press in the wake of revelations around phone-tapping and the investigations of the Leveson Inquiry.

"But outside London, much-loved and trusted local papers and radio stations are struggling to survive as a result of falling circulation and competition for advertising revenues."

The event will be held on Friday, March 9, from 9.30am-4pm, at the David Puttnam Media Centre, Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's. Entry to the conference is free but places must be booked in advance by e-mailing lyndsey.mitchinson@sunderland.ac.uk.

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SPEAKER MP Helen Goodman
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 27, 2012
Words:312
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