The great British public are putting their trust in local media outlets like the Herald and Post to combat misinformation and fake news in the run up to the General Election.

The Local Matters report published today by the News Media Association has highlighted the vital role local news media plays in our society and how it’s still seen as a trusted source of information and a force for good in the community.

The report, which includes findings from a national OnePoll survey, found that participants will rely heavily upon highly-trusted local news media outlets to combat misinformation and fake news during the run-up to the general election.

Some 81 per cent of polled UK adults think local news media will be important in debunking AI-generated misinformation about the general election.

In addition, 80 per cent believe the sector will be the most important source for election-related local news as campaigning enters its final fortnight.

A further 91 per cent also agree that local news media outlets improve communities by campaigning on issues that matter to residents.

With local media reaching 42 million people a month in print and digital forms, NMA chairman Danny Cammiade hailed the role of the industry in launching the Local Matters report.

He said: “As we enter the age of misinformation, supercharged by increasingly sophisticated technology, the role of trusted sources of news and information will become even more important than it is today.”

“At the core of this is UK local news media – local newspapers and their websites – which serves communities with trusted local journalism on an hourly, daily and weekly basis across a wide variety of platforms, acting as a powerful force for good.

“Government can foster an environment in which local media can thrive by placing the sector at the heart of its levelling up agenda and taking decisive action such as diverting more advertising spend to local news and reining in the BBC’s expansion into local markets already well served by commercial providers.”

“I am proud of the exceptional journalism we have in this country and the 900 news titles that make up our flourishing media scene,” said former culture secretary Lucy Frazer in writing for the NMA’s Journalism Matters campaign.

“Local newspapers, powered by committed local reporters, copy editors, photographers and publishers, are part of the lifeblood of that industry.”

“Quality regional and local media is crucial for democracy – it’s the glue that helps bind and build resilient communities,” wrote Lucy’s opposite, Thangam Debbonaire, for the NMA campaign.

The Local Matters report highlights some of the numerous examples of strong local journalism produced by the sector such as Birmingham Live’s campaigning for the victims of the second city’s pub bombings, the Express & Star’s campaigning on the NHS, and the Maidenhead Advertiser’s scoop about former prime minister Theresa May standing down.

The OnePoll Survey was carried out in March was a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults. According to Ofcom’s Local Media Survey 2023, 92 per cent of UK adults say they read local news media.