Coverage of national and local politics in Wales could be greatly eroded under plans by Trinity Mirror to introduce click-through targets for its journalists, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have warned.
Plans revealed by Media Wales’ National Union of Journalists branch are to give individual journalists targets for the number of website clicks achieved for their articles, in an attempt to increase audience.
Trinity Mirror titles in Wales include the Western Mail, the Daily Post and several local papers in the south Wales valleys.
Peter Black AM has written to the Chief Executive of Trinity Mirror expressing his concerns that coverage of Welsh politics would suffer under the plans.
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Minister, said:
“I’m incredibly concerned that any move towards clickbait journalism will mean less coverage for our Welsh political institutions, which can only be bad for democracy.
“Making individual journalists’ targets based solely on the number of times their articles are viewed massively devalues true investigative journalism, and could spell an end for in-depth research to uncover wasteful spending, bad management or irresponsible actions in Cardiff Bay or County Halls.
“A story about someone spotting a Kim Kardashian look-alike in Gorseinon could well get more clicks than an article about underinvestment in Wrexham’s mental health services, but without more stories like the latter there will be fewer opportunities to drive forward improvements to public services.
“Media Wales is one of the few truly pan-Wales media organisations we have. They have a duty to provide a space for politicians of all kinds to be held to account. If these plans go ahead I fear our politics will only become more unaccountable and detached from the people we represent.”