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.