Friday, 20 April 2012

SAVE YOUR LOCAL....


The title of this blog entry is one of the most commonly used terms in society today.  I dare say it has probably been used for a long time before I was born, when independent high street retailers came under pressure from the supermarkets; family butchers, corner shop owners et.c.  More recently it has found its way as a pretext to Post Office, Pub and just this week locally, the daily newspaper, The Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph.
     Sadly, at the behest of its owner Johnston Press, the E.T, as many of us know it, will become a weekly publication.  Together with four other daily titles across the U.K, one of which is another Northamptonshire publication, the Chronicle and Echo, this 104 year old publication will no longer be available as a daily newspaper.
     The reasons given are that it needs to make itself available to the technological platforms that exist in today's society.  Ashley Highfield, the Chief exec of  Johnston Press states that they will provide their existing audience with an even better product both in print and on-line.  How can you provide your existing audience, which has diminished, with an even better product in print?  On-line, yes, undoubtedly as this is new ground, yet to be trodden on by the local paper.  I am sorry but the majority of the existing audience like to read the PHYSICAL paper, in their own time, in their own place. Yes i know we can do this with a phone or tablet, but not everyone can.  Some people choose not to carry their desktop p.c into the garden with an extension lead wrapping itself around their legs, so they can peruse the latest local news of how a squirrel stole some sweets from a small child.  Mock the content if you will, but this is LOCAL news.  It is YOUR community.  The Kindle is becoming hugely popular, and i can see why, but it is not the same for a local daily newspaper.  It will become a review, I wouldn't be surprised if it mutated into a glossy yearbook.  That is all.  Surely the name will only exist on-line.  You can hardly call a weekly publication the Evening Telegraph, can you?  More like "The Northamptonshire Weekly" or something.
     Perhaps the content isn't as full as it once was: see how it can be improved then.  Perhaps it is too expensive: you wouldn't buy a book purely on it's cost, would you?  It isn't just the news either, it is an invaluable medium for small businesses to advertise through.  It is some people's link to what's going to happen in their community, not just what HAS happened.  It also brings the joy of reading that someone you may know has good news with regards a birth or marriage or what-have-you, and it also brings the sadness or the relief that someone you knew has now passed away.
     I know why it's happening and that it makes financial sense but it's just a bloody shame.  When I read, I like the feel of a book in my hands.  It is about the physical aspect as well.  Of course I sit here typing this on an electrically powered (sometimes I think it's steam) laptop, lit by an electrically supplied lamp.  However, in the far future, when we have exhausted the power of the planet (going a bit far here I know but bear with me!) there will be nothing to power these devices, only physical print will remain.
     PRINT IS WORDS.  WORDS ARE KNOWLEDGE.  KNOWLEDGE IS ............ you fill in the blanks.   "Hold the front page." Oh, you can't.  There isn't one.

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