1 September 2014

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Local press ‘not in any danger’ says Tindle

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.”

7 Comments

  1. Spanner

    How quaint !

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  2. ends

    Not sure I completely share is Churchillian optimism but how refreshing to hear someone with a passion for newspapers giving an encouraging forecast on the future. I can already hear the droning of ex JP subs approaching this post determined to bomb his enthusiasm into submission. Tally ho Ray!

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  3. Sub Mariner, The North

    A positive news story about newspapers … I genuinely don’t know how to respond! Nice to read. Thanks for the Ray of light!

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  4. Bluestringer

    As I read that I could hear the theme from The Dam Busters growing ever louder in my head.

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  5. Ken Bennett

    I am totally in line with Sir Ray’s thinking and that of other newspaper luminaries, including Chris Oakley.

    What I and others are doing is producing quality publications for a dedicated local market yearning to read about themselves. It’s all about belief. It’s all about faith.

    And is all about getting off your butt and going out every day with new heart to report, photograph and celebrate the communities where we live.

    If you are a snall publisher you want some inspiration call me. You would be surprised what you could learn.

    Ken Bennett, publisher sn editor, The Saddleworth Independent, a full colour monthly free newspaper. 07802 966922

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  6. Peter Ward, Preston

    I agree with Ken Bennett. Print is not dead if you do it well, especially in a local market.
    When did you hear someone say: “I saw you on the internet” or “Did you read about Joe Bloggs on such and such a website” ?
    Nothing can match the impact of print, and the Press still drives the nation’s news agenda.
    While social media are powerful tools and here to stay, quality journalism will always attract people.
    The problem is the low standard of publications increasingly churned out by the big groups. It pains me to hear so many complaints from readers or former readers of local newspapers as I go about my business.
    By contrast,some newspaper groups like Tindles and the national Press appear to me to be doing OK, given the current climate. But they are not using templates, not axing subs and employing good journalists.
    I, like Ken, started my own very local publications two and a half years ago in print and on the web – see http://www.homehandbooks.co.uk – and I’m earning more than I ever did as a senior newspaper journalist.
    If you’ve got the determination, the skills and the bottle (the hardest bit), you can do it yourself.

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  7. john Dover, Breezy Blackpool

    Pity, though, that so much of the press is owned by so few publishers. This cannot be good for democracy or for individual journalists in their careers (it breeds too many Yes Men and Women). I still remember Sir Ray’s edict to all his editors at the start of one of Britain’s many recent conflicts.

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