BBC Radio Leeds asked me to come in to talk about local news this morning. This week, the ABC released a report stating that local newspaper circulation figures continue to drop, so they wanted to talk to myself and a journalist about this.
In the end, it was only a quick interview as a few other items in the show has overran The intention was to talk a little more in depth about the subject, but we only got chance to say a little. So, I thought I’d put my thoughts down here.
Personally, the only time I would read a local print newspaper is if I pick up the METRO if I’m ever on the bus or train. I find out about local news mostly via:
Facebook – both from friends and from organisations (e.g. Leeds Online)
I found out about Trinity Leeds, the Leeds Arena and the proposed development in Chapel Allerton from Morrisons via Facebook.
I’m plugged into various sources of news…so if the news is important enough, it will find me.
If I then want to find out more information about the particular news story, I’d search on Google where a news outlet like the Yorkshire Evening Post or blog like The Leeds List would have more info. If I wanted to discuss the news further I’d talk to my friends face-to-face or within a Facebook Group (e.g. CARA – Chapel Allerton Residents Association).
Regarding the local newspapers in particular …the Yorkshire Post is attracting fewer people to its website now than it was a year ago, so it really needs to think about it’s place in this current media climate – what is it trying to offer? Why would I want to take time out of my day to visit their website when I have all the news coming to me from different channels?
Now, I do readily admit that I’m not necessarily mass market. I’m a blogger and work in digital marketing, so it’s no surprise that this is how I get my news. So I did a quick poll of my Facebook friends yesterday (of whom some are ‘normal’ in inverted commas and not quite so into digital as me) – they mostly said they get their news from a variety of sources. Local newspapers & Facebook jointly scored the most votes, closely followed by Twitter.
I do think that keeping a journalistic approach to writing detailed news stories is very important. However, the journalists with these valuable skills need to ensure they adapt to the media that readers want to consume. Many bloggers (not me!) have backgrounds in journalism – we shouldn’t necessarily think of digital and blogs as being the opposite of those print newspapers. It’s often the same people, just in another medium.
There’s no doubt that digital will continue to grow, especially with services such as Google Now – where Google delivers relevant information to you based on what you usually search for and where you are located.