Support Your Local Newspaper

Many commentators highlight the decline of local newspapers and suggest an uncertain future. Others argue their role has not changed and that there is and always will be an appetite for local news. In today’s digital environment it is worth asking who is right.

Local newspapers have survived and thrived for over three hundred years by printing news and information of interest to local people and communities.

They generate income by helping businesses sell products and for much of the period have been profitable, not least because they have had relatively little competition.

The printing of local news is supported by demand from people and businesses wishing to advertise cars, homes, jobs and other items on a regular basis.

Local papers are a part of people’s lives and habits, as they are read with interest by an audience that wants to be kept informed and up to date with local events.

In recent years, however, the landscape has changed for a number of reasons: the recession; changing habits and the internet.

The recession and associated austerity measures mean local newspapers, like all businesses, have to cut costs, make savings, reduce staff numbers and cut back on general resources.

Changing habits and lifestyles have affected newspaper circulation, as people are busier, have less time for reading and are more inclined to find other ways to get news.

In more recent years, the internet has had a huge effect as the online migration of many traditional areas of newspaper advertising has had a negative impact.

Many core advertising areas – cars, homes, jobs – are suffering and as a result newspapers have to find ways to reduce costs and increase sales.

One way to compete is to increase digital audiences and some papers have successfully done so, albeit struggle to generate sufficient income from online offerings.

Looking ahead, there continues to be a demand for local news and local newspapers are best positioned to deliver it in a way that engages readers and builds a sense of community.

Similarly, local newspapers hold immense local archives and in the age of digital there are opportunities to create and sell new products and services based on such information.

SO, local newspapers, like many other businesses, have entered a new era and must reinvent what they do and how they do it to stay in business.

What do you think?

Do you support your local newspaper?

Look forward to your comments.