WHAT is a news desert? Well it’s certainly not Newport, where the South Wales Argus has been reporting on what happens in our community for 131 years.

But a new report by the Public Interest News Foundation came to a different view. The foundation has been looking into so-called news deserts, which are places without a local newspaper, website or other reliable source.

It’s a valid issue. The news industry has been through incredible change since the rise of the internet knocked the business model for six and this has left some areas without local titles.


I’m very supportive of research and steps to address this. It’s something we talked about in the recent public interest journalism in Wales working group, of which I was a member.

But somehow, the foundation’s latest map of news deserts includes Newport. A finding I described as laughable when approached by industry website Hold the Front Page.

Credit to the PNIF, they have been in contact and said they’d like to work with us and others who had criticised the report on improving their map.


It certainly needs improvement. It seems that the Argus doesn’t count as a Newport title because we also cover neighbouring authorities, such as Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent etc. By that logic, if the old Gwent authority still existed, there would be no problem.

But local authority boundaries don’t neatly match circulation areas, economic areas or communities. And they tend to change from time to time.

Some simple fact checking will tell you that the Argus is Newport’s local paper. It’s hard to find someone in Newport who doesn’t have some connection to the Argusthey or a family member have worked here, they’ve been in the paper or delivered it!


We are based right here in the city centre. Our reporters are out in the city every day. They work had and seeing the city described as a news desert is, frankly, insulting to them.

I was pleased today to see some of our local elected representatives be quick to defend the Argus and share photos of themselves with their copy of the paper.


That doesn’t mean we get everything right. There’ll be plenty of times when we write articles readers don’t agree with, or where someone will pick us up on a mistake.

But you can’t dispute that we’re here. We have a dozen journalists working hard in the centre of Newport to produce a daily newspaper and round-the-clock website, telling you what’s happening in Newport – and indeed beyond into Cwmbran, Blackwood, Ebbw Vale, Pontypool, Risca, Chepstow and more besides.

Long may it continue.