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Hell in a handcart Media

Why local newspapers matter

A great post by Charles Arthur: When the diggers come for your town square, will you know why?

People who run shops and market stalls are starting to get worried about whether they can cover their bills, because the council did a stupid, mindless, thoughtless thing and nobody stood up quickly and loudly enough to point out that it was a stupid, mindless, thoughtless idea that would hurt peoples’ livelihoods during a brutal recession. I’m not holding my breath for the leader of Saffron Walden’s town council to appear on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, either.

How about you? How are things in your town? Would you be surprised if you turned up in the market square and found it being ripped up by diggers? Sure, as “Bruce” observes in the comments to Watson’s post, you know about the iPhone getting cut and paste, and you’ve got an opinion about the new Facebook UI. Now tell us how much you know what’s being done with your money a mile down the road.

5 replies on “Why local newspapers matter”

Obviously you’ve never read my local paper. Not only are their offices based 15 miles away and their reporters literally never visit the town, but the paper actually carries headlines from time to time which say “HEADLINE GOES HERE.”

Doesn’t surprise me. If it’s anything like the ones I’ve known, they’ve suffered from years of chronic understaffing followed by takeovers by firms who believe that all you need to do to sustain the business is sell ads. And they were right, until the internet came along.

The biggest campaign about here recently has been about the expansion of the A80 to a motorway. The only coverage the local paper gave was on the letters page.

And, oh so typically, this took the form of those that wanted to redirect it through the Kelvin valley and those that didn’t want any new motorway arguing with each other. Both wanted to stop the current expansion, but could they get together on it?

So due to various reasons, I had a hand in our local paper’s April Fool’s joke, which was to take up the whole back page. They included a disclaimer on the inside back page that what was on the back page was indeed an April Fool’s joke.

Here’s the problem: they printed the wrong paper’s back page. I’m serious. That was not how the joke was supposed to go. This newspaper group publishes four different papers, and after taking time to get the joke right, they let the paper go to press with *another paper’s back page*.

I despair.

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