Is Local Journalism Failing? Local Voices in the Aftermath of the Grenfell and Lakanal Fire Disasters
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When the Grenfell fire tragedy struck in 2017, the world watched in horror. Social media buzzed with comments, questions and demands for meaningful intervention. The local press was also blamed for failing to identify a disaster ‘foretold’. This chapter compares local press treatment of the previous major fire in London at Lakanal House in 2009 with its response to the Grenfell fire. After Lakanal House voices were amplified by local media creating a running story and investigating the causes and consequences of the fire. None of this translated into an adequate public policy response to fire safety. It asks if an emerging fifth estate can fill a news deficit and broaden public discourse to effect change? And whether local voices are, or will be, heard any more clearly to find remedies to disaster? Significantly, it considers whether local journalism can really matter if public authorities ignore the evidence it puts before the public?
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