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Universities to stage conference on past and future of regional press

A conference on the past history and future prospects of regional newspapers is being held by two universities.

Media historians from Coventry University and Liverpool John Moores University have announced the event, which is entitled Provincial Newspapers: Lessons from History.

Organisers are calling for academic papers to be submitted on the subject ahead of the conference.

Areas of discussion may include the future of the local press, newspapers and regional identity, economic models and production and reception histories.

Provincial newspapers

An invitation reads: “The conference is being jointly organised by media historians from Coventry University and Liverpool John Moores University at a time when newsprint journalism has moved from the intensive care ward and obituaries are being pondered and some written.

“Yet local and regional journalism has been challenged before and emerged altered if not unscathed.

“This event will bring industry representatives and academics together to take a retrospective look at the current conundrum faced by the regional local newspaper industry in an effort to extrapolate lessons for the future.”

The event is organised by Dr Guy Hodgson, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at LJMU, and Dr Rachel Matthews, Principal Lecturer in Journalism, Coventry University.

Closing date for proposals is 1 June, and the conference will be held on 8 September at the Redmonds Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, L3 5UG.


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  • May 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

    This isn’t an ‘academic paper’ and I’m not one of the usual industry representatives who are regulars here and will doubtlessly get involved with this event, but how about any of the following considerations when attempting to ‘extrapolate lessons for the future':
    1) Newspaper companies chasing level of profits which are totally unsustainable – even in the short term – at the expense of any hopes of their survival
    2) Titles which have never come to terms with the challenge of the internet
    3) Groups which no longer value the experience of long-serving employees – with high levels of local knowledge that accountants cannot value on balance sheets – and would far rather use cheap, untrained twentysomethings
    4) The sheer folly of centralised offices and production units

    I’m very sorry, but like plenty of other industry veterans, I feel that all too many academics may simply have no practical knowledge of what is going on in provincial newspapers now.

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  • May 24, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Both of the organizers of this event are journalists as well as academics so I hope we do have some awareness of what’s going on. We are also really interested to have contributions from people in the industry past and present. The points you raise are really worth talking about so why not think about making a contribution to the event?

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  • May 25, 2017 at 7:03 am

    4 totally relevant points ‘one time sub’
    The other real issues being overlooked are the reliance on reader supplied content over professionally researched and written journalism and the inclusion of wholly irrelevant ‘sponsored copy’ cluttering up online news stories and for commercial reasons only

    Both key factors in the general erosion of the quality of regional publishers content and adding to the ongoing decline in copy sales and falling ad revenues

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