A few weeks back I was on work experience on a local newspaper – a newspaper which shall remain nameless due to the comments I am about to make…
On my first day I was sat on a desk amongst all the reporters who work for the paper. Within one hour on my first day I was listening in on a conversation which was essentially about the death of the local newspaper. Complaints were in abundance.
Advertising, owners, communication with head office, a lack of ideas – all were discussed as possible causes and solutions to the problem of their papers dwindling size and circulation.
Not one of them (and there were around ten of them sat around) mentioned their readers.
Perhaps some local newspapers might want to consider that a greater interaction with their readers might help. It sounds daft as I’m sure many of you will be shouting “Of course they consider their readers” but seriously how many editors or reporters have thought that the answer to their problem might lie in the community they are writing about?
These reporters knew they were in trouble, but they didn’t realise that the most important people when it comes to fixing the problem aren’t the ad-men or managing directors but the people who might actually buy the paper, might actually visit the ugly and poorly run website (would add a link but that would give it away wouldn’t it) and might actually want to interact with the reporters.
Sadly it seems that for one local newspaper at least, community is ironically low on the agenda.