Thursday, October 22, 2009

Editor fumes as school ads move online - but berating the government doesn't help journalism

Roy Greenslade writes:

Peter Barron, editor of the Darlington-based daily, the Northern Echo, has brilliantly illustrated the dilemma confronting both regional newspapers and a cash-strapped government.

At the same time, he highlights - albeit unconsciously - the fact that digital media is a more effective and efficient platform for advertising than newsprint.

On the one hand, the prime minister - and, I believe, almost every MP, of whatever persuasion - likes local and regional papers. In the words of Gordon Brown (in May 2008), as quoted by Barron:

"Local newspapers are right at the heart of Britain... [They] make an essential contribution to the vitality of local communities, and as a result our whole national life is strengthened. You show us what really makes the difference in our country is communities coming together to change things for the better."

Fine words. Probably sincere too. But local papers cannot make that "essential contribution" unless they are funded adequately, which means attracting advertisements.


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