Newspaper publisher Sir Ray Tindle has again delivered an upbeat assessment of the local press industry’s prospects saying it is “not in any grave danger.”
The veteran entrepreneur told staff that while some newspaper titles had closed during 2012, this was no more than what was to be expected in a recession.
He said that local newspapers were here to stay because they provide “a depth and detail of local news which local readers want and which no one has equalled.”
Sir Ray’s comments came in a Christmas message to staff which has since been republished on the Newspaper Society website.
He said: “The statistics and happenings and economic forecasts which have assailed us these last weeks and months, after five years of this recession, appear depressing.
“I recommend we look at these pessimistic statistics the other way round. Yes, some titles have gone but almost all the long-established local titles are still with us. 1,000 of them in fact.
“Yes, our revenue has dropped. But that has happened to many if not most industries throughout the UK and Europe. It’s what happens in recessions.
“Some newspapers have closed, yes, but so have many businesses in other industries, as well as hundreds of shops. Woolworths went at the start. Comet is now closing. Its what happens in recessions, but 1,000 weekly newspapers have not closed.”
He went on: “The real position is that the local newspaper press is not in any grave danger and need not be so in the future. Old established local papers are surviving and will survive the whole of this recession as they have survived all previous recessions, to my knowledge.
“I am firmer than ever in my opinion that local papers are here forever because they provide a depth and detail of local news which local readers want and which no one has equalled, and because they enable local traders to reach their essentially local potential customers in a way unparalled for concentrated coverage and price.”
Sir Ray urged editors and managers to pack their pages with even more detailed local news and to try to replace lost national ad revenue from ads from local sources.
He added: “I have lived by Churchill’s speeches for 72 years since I first heard them in l940 and I now promise you the day will come, before too long, when we’ll once again see Churchill’s sunlit uplands.”