IN the fake news era, businesses should trust local news sites to advertise their valuable brands rather than risk them appearing next to extremist content and untrue stories.

That is the message from some of the UK’s longest established publishers, including Newsquest, which owns the Worcester News.

Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest’s CEO, has teamed up with other publishers to write an open letter which sets out how local news sites can help protect brand reputation.

Mr Faure Walker said advertisers were increasingly exposed and worried about seeing their brands sat beside unsavoury content because of blind programmatic ad buying.

“Google and Facebook are keen to apologise but they don’t have credible answers. Our content is produced by highly skilled local journalists, it is regulated, it relies on human judgement and discretion as opposed to blind algorithms, and it reaches and engages millions of people in communities throughout the UK.

“As a result, our advertising environment is trusted, safe and highly responsive.

“What’s more, advertising in local news brands continues to fund much-needed high quality journalism across the UK.”

In the letter, Mr Faure Walker along with the CEOs of Johnston Press, Archant and DC Thompson, says local news brands often reach at least 70 per cent of their communities.

To underline the message, 1XL, a publisher partnership representing Newsquest, has revealed an online advertising charter, confirming ads will not sit next to extremist content and fake news.