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paidContent:UK: Web could play deciding role in local media mergers, says Ofcom

December 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media

Interesting report from paidContent:UK on what role the web will play in competition issues in proposed local media mergers according to Ofcom. Summarised by paidContent:UK and from Ofcom’s final Local Media Assessment guidance published as part of a review of the current media merger landscape:

Ofcom will factor in any online local media operators, when considering whether there is sufficient competition to two merging parties.

In theory, that could see Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe and Global Radio, in the event of any such merger, arguing that their local papers and stations would not dominate local ad sales because sites like Gumtree or Google also sell local ads in the same patch.

Full story on paidContent:UK at this link…

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Enders’ Douglas McCabe: Regional newspaper forecast was ‘unnecessarily pessimistic’

November 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media, Newspapers

A media analyst from Enders Analysis has said the company’s prediction that half of the UK’s 1,300 regional newspapers would close in five years was “unnecessarily pessimistic”. Founder Claire Enders made the forecast in evidence to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee in June last year.

“You aren’t seeing closures on anything like that scale, and we haven’t seen the all-important dailies closing,” Douglas McCabe from Enders told the Society of Editors conference today.

Read the full report on Douglas McCabe’s comments on HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

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Johnston Press chief: BBC should be limited to three stories per city per day

October 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media

A curious strategy by Johnston Press’ chief executive John Fry, who has reportedly written to the BBC Trust asking the body to limit the number of news stories the BBC’s website publishes online to three per city or region.

The BBC’s coverage could thwart JP’s plans to launch more paid-for digital services. No mention of its failed paywall pilots though…

Full story on Telegraph.co.uk at this link…

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The Independent: Regional press challenging bad forecasts

September 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Local media, Newspapers

The Independent has an interesting article by Ian Burrell this morning comparing the current situation for local media – in terms of production levels, revenues and staff – with previous predictions.

The overall picture it paints is that the regional press, despite facing predictions that half of the industry would be closed down by 2013, is proving forecasters wrong.

A year or so later, the picture is somewhat different. Whereas 60 local newspapers did close during 2009, only eight have gone to the wall in 2010. The UK’s local press isn’t quite ready to draft its own obituary.

Early on Burrell discusses the impact of the American press situation on encouraging the bleak outlooks for British media, but adds that action taken by the press such as the increasing use of hyperlocal sites has helped it survive.

The earlier predictions of Armageddon were influenced by events in America, where the regional press has suffered badly. The closure in February last year of the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News in Denver caused great alarm, as did the demise the following month of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which moved to online-only production after 146 years in print. The company that owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy. But the New York Times reported recently that hedge fund “vulture” investors are circling newspaper businesses in anticipation that the worst days are over.

But the article also raises the question of how you should measure the pulse of the local newspaper industry. Therefore as well as looking at the number of titles (and money) still being made, Burrell asks what the wider impact on the journalists within these newsrooms is?

Barry Fitzpatrick, head of publishing at the National Union of Journalists, says not. “Most of our journalists are working multi-platform and they are working long hours to deadlines that are increasingly difficult to meet. I’m fearful of what the long term effect will be on journalism itself and on the health of a lot of people that are trying to earn a living as journalists.”

See the full article here…

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Hyperlocal – what does it mean?

Not long ago it was the buzzword of the media and news industry – but what does ‘hyperlocal’ really mean today?

It’s a question Guardian Local editor Sarah Hartley has sought answer on her blog, putting forward ten characteristics which represent the meaning of the phrase as it evolves.

First, she discusses the growing range of the term, which has developed from a postcode-focused news patch to now being used to describe focused subject matter, story treatment, or even geographical areas which are actually large in size. “Can these things be considered hyperlocal in nature?”, she asks.

Here is a summary of the main characteristics Hartley associates with the term:

  • Participation from the author.
  • Opinion blended with facts.
  • Participation from the community.
  • Small is big. Scale is not important, impact is.
  • Medium agnostic. Use of different platforms.
  • Obsessiveness. Sticking with a story.
  • Independence.
  • Link lovers.
  • Passion.
  • Lack of money.

Readers are invited to comment on her blog on whether it is time to find an alternative to the term ‘hyperlocal’ or whether it is well used enough to keep.

See her full post at this link…

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Manchester Evening News lets football fans take over its masthead

July 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Much has been written about the positives and negatives of personalised features on news websites, from user profiles to personalised homepages.

For me the Manchester Evening News has got its personalisation priorities right: registered readers can now choose between a blue masthead, designed for Manchester City fans; or keep the site’s traditional red colour theme if you a Manchester United fan.

(NB – for those of you that know my football allegiances please note that logging in as a blue was purely for work purposes)

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Scoopland: Alternative NUJ Regional Press Award Winners

June 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Events, Local media

Deputy editor of the Camden New Journal Richard Osley shares his thoughts on prize-worthy regional journalism, following last night’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Regional Press Awards.

The News in Portsmouth took four awards at the event yesterday. While congratulating the paper, Osley recommends the Cambridge News, Kent on Sunday, the Argus in Brighton, the South London Press and Birmingham Mail.

Full Scoopland post at this link…

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#lnw: Local Newspaper Week – a week in headlines

May 17th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Newspapers

As part of Local Newspaper Week (10-16 May 2010), Journalism.co.uk collected images of local newspaper headlines from across the UK. We mapped them here and created a Flickr group where the pictures submitted are shared. Thanks to everyone who took part.

Here’s a slideshow of a week in local news headlines from Cardiff to Sunderland and from dog attacks, fires and job cuts to a change in government:


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Local Newspaper Week: Mapping a week’s local news headlines

May 10th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Local media, Newspapers

It’s Local Newspaper Week this week – an event organised by the Newspaper Society to recognise the role of newspapers in local communities. This year’s focus is local independent journalism and holding public bodies to account.

To mark the week, we want to create a snapshot of a week’s headlines from local newspapers across the UK. We’ve kickstarted the map with a picture of Journalism.co.uk’s local newspaper the Argus in Brighton, but want your pictures of newspaper A-boards or headlines from where you are – whether you’re a journalist at that title or a local reader.

You can email the images to laura [at] journalism.co.uk; upload them to our Local Newspaper Week Flickr group at this link; or send them via Twitter using the hashtag #lnw to @journalismnews.

Please include where the photo was taken (village/town/city at least) so we can map it and your name if you want a mention.


View #lnw: Local Newspaper Week headlines map in a larger map

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Roy Greenslade: Brighton’s Argus and saving local newspapers

April 21st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Local media

Media commentator Roy Greenslade gives a no-holds-barred review of the local news scene in his home city Brighton, in particular the problems faced by the Newsquest-owned local newspaper, the Argus.

As we all know, regional evenings have been in decline across the country, but the Argus has lost more buyers faster than many similar titles. Is this Newsquest’s fault? Well, a publisher cannot be entirely free of blame.

However, the central difficulty facing any editor of the Argus (and, arguably, all regionals and locals) has been demographic, trying to identify, and then appeal to, a target audience. In plain terms, should it be The Times or The Sun or the Daily Mail?

The paper, again like others, has tried to be all things to all people, without managing to satisfy any sector. Its front pages have tended to be red-toppish, with an accent on crime. Indeed, much of the news follows a tabloid-style agenda.

Comments from former Argus journalists, contributors and some readers make for an interesting anatomy of the difficulties faced by regional and local newspapers across the UK – a worthwhile read for all regional hacks.

Full post at this link…

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