Sunday, October 03, 2010

Why local papers are in decline

I buy the Stockport Express most weeks. I believe in local media. I want to support it too.

Now, last week, in Marple there was a festival. No-one got glassed, there wasn't a fire and no animals were harmed in its making. It was just a load of people eating food, listening to music and enjoying a fine community spirit. In fact, the week before the paper got into the mood by plugging it, here.

Would you know this from reading the local weekly paper this week? No, there is no mention. Surely this is a good story, a source of pictures, feel-good district news? The pie competition had a brilliant outcome - the winner was made from crayfish caught in the local canal. That's a good story on lots of levels.

And there is hardly any local junior sports coverage now. I'm beginning to wonder if it even exists in Stockport, and yet I know it is thriving.

Critics from the blogging fraternity will argue that this void will be filled by bloggers and citizen journalists. It won't. I'm a local blogger but I haven't written about it. I was away on a lad's trip to Munich. It has to be part of a systemic, organised and disciplined news organisation with values and priorities. And resources.

There is also a school of thought that says that community organisations, through the internet, will disseminate their own information through their own channels. Well, they haven't done so here. The Marple festival website is a guide to something that has happened. It's over. There are other sites promoting it, but not covering it.



Anonymous said...

Have you read the Lancaster Guardian recently Michael? It's dreadful, absolutely dreadful. I cycled past a newsagent the other week and the billboard outside was advertising the fact that that particular week's copy of our local paper contained a 'bumper edition of courtwatch'. And that's about as good as it gets.

Michael Taylor said...

The Lancaster Guardian and the Morecambe Visitor now have one single editor over both titles. It's a difficult trick to pull off, doing both, but they've got a good guy to do it in Steve Brauner. Change will come, hopefully for the better.

George Dearsley said...

Michael, expect to see even more decline. You can't cover an area like Stockport with one or two bodies in a warehouse in Oldham, especially on the rubbish wages Trinity pay.