Henry Faure Walker, Chairman of the News Media Association (NMA), issued an open letter to retailers concerning the importance of news publications during the coronavirus outbreak.

The News Media Association (NMA) is a trade body that represents news media organisations that publish around 1000 national, regional and local newspaper titles throughout the UK.

Mr Walker stated that the NMA will do everything in its power to ensure that retailers’ customers continue to get newspapers – and the news that they want – amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter detailed the NMA’s continuous efforts to ensure that newspapers remain in circulation.

The NMA’s action includes remaining in contact with the government, undertaking schemes designed to help retailers and readers, monitoring the supply chain and its partners, and requesting that newspapers are treated as an ‘essential service’ – stating that the entire wholesale distribution network should remain open, despite tightening restrictions across the UK and Ireland.

Mr Walker said:

“The need for independent, verifiable news and information is more important than ever during the coronavirus crisis, with the public turning to the news publications they trust in unprecedented numbers.

“The news media fulfils a critical service at this time, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable where information and support is so vital.”

Please see the entire letter below.

Dear Retailer,

I am writing on behalf of the News Media Association (NMA), the trade body representing news media organisations that publish around 1000 national, regional and local newspaper titles throughout the UK.

The need for independent, verifiable news and information is more important than ever during the coronavirus crisis, with the public turning to the news publications they trust in unprecedented numbers. The news media fulfils a critical service at this time, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable where information and support is so vital.

NMA members are, apart from the continual monitoring of the supply chain and its partners, undertaking several schemes designed to help retailers and readers. Publishers are also looking at ways to ensure that newspapers continue to reach retailers on time and will if necessary, make changes to their own operations to help printers, wholesalers and retailers continue offering their own valuable and essential services.

The NMA, on behalf of its publisher members, is also in constant contact with the government to find ways to ensure that they can continue to provide this invaluable service at these challenging times. In particular, we are asking the Government for newspapers to be treated as an ‘essential service’ in the event of further movement restrictions, including keeping journalists, publishers, retailers and wholesale operating and able to deliver papers.

We are also asking that newspapers be designated an essential/core product by retailers and that supply levels are maintained to ensure that newspapers and the critical information they hold, is available to your customers.

We have also written to the Government asking them to step in to ensure the wholesale distribution network stays in place, if necessary, though publishers and wholesalers are doing their utmost to get newspapers delivered to you without disruption.

We will do our best to keep you informed of any changes that will affect you and welcome your feedback on ways that we can work together to ensure your customers continue to get the news they want.

Kind regards,

Henry Faure Walker
Chairman
News Media Association