The Future for Local and Regional Media.

This week I am taking a look into our local and regional media and whether it is under threat or not?

After reading this Publication from Parliament , which gives in-depth statics and research, I have come to the conclusion that  local/regional media is troubled not under threat. However it is important to note that this publication was created between the years 2009-2010, so things may have changed. 

It is clear to say that there is a need and a want for local and regional media. People like to be kept informed and feel part of a community. Imagine not picking your local paper at Christmas and not seeing all the local schools nativity play pictures or christmas light display date, it’s just a sad thought to be honest. I do not think any community wants to see their local/regional papers or radio stations to disappear.

The Press Association stated in its submission that:

Local and regional media provided a trusted source of public service information and accountability for local communities.”

The publication comments on how structural changes in media and the impact of the recession has caused these worries and awareness of how the local/regional press will possible disappear. The revolution of online media has definitely hit local press hard, I don’t know whether this is because local/regional press is set in its ways or whether they are just resisting any form of change but it is something they will have to grasp sooner rather than later.

Here is an example of local and regional media near me: 

Kingston Guardian News Website

Near my home:

Bexhill Observer News Website

I wanted to show you both areas (Kingston and Bexhill) as one is higher populated than the other and I wanted to see whether a local/regional newspaper in London would differ from one in Sussex.

Neither news websites in my opinion look appealing and they do not look much different from each other. You can clearly see that the websites are funded through advertising because they are covered in them. If anything the adverts are more appealing to see than the actual information and journalism (I hate to say). These websites are just incomparable against The Mail Online or The Times. I understand they have more readership and funding but surely in this day in age when the digital age is rising and growing, local/regional papers should be more aware of their websites and take better care in them.

In the parliament publication, I could not believe my eyes when I read this:

 We note that local newspapers groups can opt out of both Google web search and Google News if they wish.”

Do they not understand that if they opted out of being on a Google search, their readership would dramatically decrease?! I hope they would. After that statement had been made, it then continued to say that:

Google News has been designed to support local newspaper websites.”

So why not utilise them, surely?

Ofcom gave out these interesting statistics in 2009:

Adults in the UK – 90% are consumers of some sort of local media. Over 70% watch regional news on television, three quarters read a local newspaper weekly, while nearly half listen to local and commercial radio, one in five access a local news website and three quarters of adults in the UK consume local news on a regular basis. 

These statistics clearly show that local and regional media is used and needed. I doubt very much that they will disappear but I do think they need to develop and change for the consumer’s behaviour of today. That would mean that they need to make their online material more appealing and accessible for their readership.

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Posted on November 13, 2012, in Online Revolution and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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