AS a working journalist I’ve been hearing for almost 20 years now that print is dead.
The forecast has been that dire because technology has been seen as the print-slayer, the force that would make newspapers and magazines in any form redundant as ever-more sophisticated ways of accessing information are introduced.
Yet, put a newspaper down anywhere in public and people will pick it up and read it.
Yes, I know that more modern generations don’t have the newspaper habit like their parents and grandparents did. They get their news on their mobiles, ipads and computers but there is something about grappling with the physicality of a newspaper that is still enjoyable.
Newspapers have their own websites these days, often with independent staff and a different news-gathering operation. But, there is still an appetite for news and particularly for local news.
For example, when the long-established and much-admired independent newspaper the Oldham Chronicle suddenly closed a few weeks ago, it shocked the industry and readers alike.
But, within a very short space of time three different publishers have leapt into the fray to produce hyper-local publications. Interestingly, each has sold out its first editions.
If this continues, it shows that Oldham, like many other towns around the UK, still values its local newspaper. Local people want to know what is happening nearby, on their high street and about decisions that affect them directly.
There is definitely still a market for local newspapers even if the business model has to be slightly different to survive long-term.
Businesses sometimes ignore local and regional print media in the “circle of information” that disseminates their information, but they do so at their peril. Print is still alive, relatively well and the prognosis – if used in tandem with all the latest technology – isn’t all bad.