Your Thanet newspaper is to stop being printed and will now only retain an e-edition, to me this information constitutes a local news story of some importance, so I was surprised not to find anything about this either in Your Thanet or any of its rival newspapers.
I suppose news about newspapers and journalists could be seen as not quite playing the game, sort of secret news if you like.
The rumour that I heard, that prompted me to write this post, was that they had sacked the Thanet Journalists and the paper would be printed no more.
Like any other Thanet story that I publish on this blog I do my best to verify the accuracy of what I post, so I rang them up, getting a story from a newspaper about that newspaper is a bit strange.
It seems that, yes indeed, a lot of journalists have left or are leaving, but this is called restructuring and yes indeed, paper editions of Your Thanet and the other papers for different Kent regions will no longer be printed on paper.
As far as I can make out this business started out with two journalists and an editor producing The Kent on Sunday newspaper, this won awards and expanded, launched various regional free local papers and was bought by Archant Regional limited.
The underlying question here is something like, with all the local news available for free online, how does anyone get paid for writing anything? When kent on Sunday started out, you could have asked the question, how does anyone get paid for writing for a free paper? The answer to this would have been, from the revenue produced by the advertising in that paper.
Now the answer is much more difficult, because of the internet, some national papers have started charging a subscription for reading their online edition, how this will work in the context of other national papers that are available for free online, is very difficult to understand.
For me what has been wrong with Your Thanet is its similarity to the other local papers combined with a very cautious attitude. They were the first paper to be given the China Gateway, Tesco carrier bag story, see http://eastcliffrichard.blogspot.com/2008/08/gazunder-leads-with-story-shock.html something I was asked not to post on the blog before they ran it, only to be pretty much gob smacked when the paper came out and the story wasn’t in it.
Reading between the lines, if you can read a paper between the lines that is, their editor has controversial views and the potential for the sort of story that would make people go out of their way to read the paper. I posted last week about the blog post on their website about Thanet Earth see http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/2011/01/thanet-earth-success-or-disaster.html when I posted about it, it was published anonymously and now it has the editors name on it see http://www.yourthanet.co.uk/p_148/Article/a_10306/So_what_did_Thanet_Earth_do_for_Thanet? Reading this weeks editorial, also in the same league see the online version http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/koslaunch.aspx?referral=other&refresh=Sa3081tCm5B1&PBID=84956776-5fe0-4064-a733-83aabf1dd4b7&skip= you couldn’t easily be mistaken about who had written the article about Thanet Earth.
Online wise all our local papers make a bit of a mess of things, googling “Thanet newspapers” is a good indicator of what I mean. The Gazette comes up first but the link doesn’t actually lead you to the paper, Your Thanet comes up second and the link, yes, does actually lead to the paper, after that it all falls apart, try googling “Margate newspapers” or “Ramsgate newspapers” to see what I mean. I suppose the person who wrote the newspaper’s website hadn’t ever actually been to Thanet.
It is difficult to tell from any of the local newspaper’s websites how many visitors they get, no counter or statistics are published, so it is difficult to see how they would continue to sell advertising for an exclusively online edition. When local papers try to sell me advertising circulation is usually their main selling point.
The only criteria that I can realistically use to gauge how many people read the local papers online is the number of comments they get, which seems to less than this blog. Having said that they don’t make it easy to comment, irritating word verification and so on and if you do comment you don’t usually get a reply from the journalist who wrote the article.
Worst of all though are their feeds, these are the invisible internet codes that are used for the “latest posts on other blogs” thingy on my sidebar, the Your Thanet one feeds all of the newspaper group’s stories for the whole of Kent.
The modern world, the internet and other factors are having an adverse effect on our community. We have lost many of our shops and now one of our newspapers, the shops products can often be found cheaper online, the local news free online, but the social cost is high.
I will ramble on about this if I get a chance.