Newspaper entrepreneur Sir Ray Tindle has declared that the local press industry has weathered the recession and is “almost back to full viability.”
The 88-year-old publisher is due to deliver his company’s half-yearly statement at a management conference in Kent today.
In it he says that the local press has safely weathered the economic storm and that lost national advertising revenues are being replaced at local level.
“We are now totally convinced of the almost complete return of the local press to full viability and to its vital role in the many communities it serves,” he says.
Sir Ray, proprietor of Tindle Newspapers, said he had so far launched 19 new titles since the start of the recession with plans for another new weekly in the pipeline.
He said that revenues were ahead of those of 2013 and that the end of the year will show some “positive results.”
Said Sir Ray: “It has been our duty and obvious primary aim to bring the papers and the staff through these six years and, because we have a magnificent, hard working, and loyal staff, we believe we have safely reached the turning of the tide and the beginning of the recovery.
“We are now totally convinced of the almost complete return of the local press to full viability and to its vital role in the many communities it serves.”
“We naturally lost some job advertisements as did everyone else during the worst of this recession. Those job ads are now beginning to return as are property advertisements.
“The Farnham Herald’s property section this last quarter achieved 80 pages one week in April and has published seven 72’s since. This is the best I’ve seen since I joined the local press after leaving the Army at the end of the Second World War.”
Looking to the future, he added: “What we see before us as the task for local community weekly newspapers is very much what most of the weeklies in the UK have been doing for between 100 and 200 years.
“Little that has happened has changed what our readers want – news of their own immediate locality, their own town, their own village, their own street. They want it in detail.
“Make no mistake about it, the local paper’s place in this country is well entrenched. Forecasts of the early demise of some of us were certainly mistaken. The public still want their “local” and most people will still want it in its present printed form though some may prefer to read it on Ipads or whatever.
“In my 65 active years in local papers I have seen the arrival of a great deal of marvellous new technology which has changed much of our lives. It has not, however, changed the need for the publishing and dissemination of local news in depth and detail.”