The church is recruiting journalists to advertise native information

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St. Margaret & # 39; s Church, Rainham

An Anglican church in Kent, southeast England, is taking the "revolutionary" step of hiring a full-time journalist to report church and church news.

St. Margaret’s, Rainham, is promoting a “qualified multi-qualification journalist” to join the Church staff team with an annual salary of £ 20,000 ($ 25,300).

The move comes as the prospects for local newspapers look increasingly bleak. Even before it was blocked, titles faced major challenges, as a lot of advertising revenue went to Facebook, Google and other digital platforms. Readers increasingly consume their news online for free, with the creators of the news often receiving little or no payment.

A recent survey found that the Covid 19 pandemic could cause British newspapers to lose 30 percent of their advertising revenue – around £ 500m ($ 633m) a year. Many reporters could lose their jobs and news organizations might shut down.

Nathan Ward, Vicar of St. Margaret & # 39; s, said: "For thousands of years, stories have been keeping the communities together, and unfortunately, in recent years, local journalism has been under increasing pressure to increase the amount of really & # 39; 39; local content & # 39; decreased.

"As a church, we want to fill that gap and hire a community journalist – an appointment that I think is revolutionary. When we responded to a community survey we conducted that found that people used local news as a way of dealing with it they wanted the curfew. "

The Bishop of Tonbridge, Simon Burton-Jones, supported the move. He said: "The decline in local journalism due to online advertising is already having really important consequences at the community level.

"As long-standing local newspapers have disappeared and the rest of their employees have had to dismantle and close, their long-term and important connections to their communities can be lost. Online alternatives such as clickbait, lists, gossip and the like are no substitute for real journalism.

"The lack of local journalism also brings with it a lack of control – the Grenfell Tower is an example where residents have raised concerns about cladding, but it was too local a story for nationals and lacked local coverage to select them up that could connect a wider audience. "

In the job description, the church explains: "Whether it tells the story of the local fish shop, how the restaurant owners cope when closed, or the story behind & # 39; The Oast & # 39; House and what it does now – we want a versatile professional, qualified journalist to join our team as soon as possible.

"Half of the stories you produce focuses on the local community – their people and groups, schools and new homes. The other half focuses on telling the story of the Church, its people, its purpose and history View all of our digital content, including monitoring the live streaming of our services.

"We believe this is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in a local community through serious journalism."

St. Margaret & # 39; s hopes that the successful candidate will start in July.

Peter Crumpler is a priest of the Church of England in St. Albans, Herts, and former communications director of the CofE.

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