Monday, 1 October 2012

The End of the Thanet Times Newspaper


There is an irony that this wasn’t announced by the papers reporters in the paper, but on their FaceBook page, which sums up the problem. The internet I fast doing away with conventional newspapers.

Tomorrow’s edition will be the last one, I guess they have kept this pretty quiet until now so as not to halt the advertising revenue until the last possible moment.

The Thanet Times first started in 1896, it was bought out by its rival the Isle of Thanet Gazette and closed in 1918, they eventually restarted it in 1958.

Both newspapers do have an official internet presence, albeit a very clunky one. E-Editions being available at http://eeditions.nmgl.co.uk/kent  you have to fill out a form to read the Thanet Times and pay to Read the Gazette. Alternatively most of the articles in the papers are available, for free and without any form filling, at http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/people/Thanet%20Times/profile.html  and http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/people/Isle%20of%20Thanet%20Gazette/profile.html  respectively.

The problem here is very similar to the problem I face as a bookseller. With so much to read available for nothing, how do you get anyone to pay for reading anything?

With newspapers, especially local ones, this adds the problem of how one pays for the sort of investigative journalism that was part of life’s check and balances.

As a blogger, phoning up the owners of newspapers, to get a news story about the said newspaper doesn’t come up with much in the way of results, the big question being, are The Isle of Thanet Gazette’s days numbered? In an overall sense having talked to both the paper’s owners Northcliffe Media and local journalists, the answer seems to be that it keeps going for now or more optimistically they are consolidating all of their resources into one publication, which will be greatly improved as a result.

Update, Here is the link to the E-Edition of today’s the last edition of The Thanet Times http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?pbid=1e459ab7-9e3a-47ff-8cf6-426a55445a5d

I guess the idea is that most people would read it on their smart phone on the way to work, unfortunately the front page and associated lead article has a corrupt file on the mobile version of the E-Reader so here is a link to the lead article that will open on your smart phone http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Thanet-Times-publishes-final-edition-116-years/story-17019016-detail/story.html   

12 comments:

  1. You get people to pay but having great pieces of journalism, by offering things in the print edition that isn't available free online, by building a loyal readership through finding out what they want and offering it at a reasonable price.

    At the end of the day Newspapers aren't in the business of selling news, they are in the business of selling access to people to the advertising industy... unfortunately most newspapers still operate in a "Pre-Internet" thought process and are therefore doomed to fail.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rob I love your optimism that the newspaper industry can all its ills in those few pearls of wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The newspaper industry won't survive Don... it's simple. Like many legacy indusries that haven't done much to adapt since the internet began, they'll eventually all fold just like the recording industry part of the greater music indutry... they change to little to late.

    The question is why should we care? nobody cared to much about the buggy and whip manufacturers when Henry Ford started mass production of the automobile or to much when the telephone switchboard operators got laid off with the introduction of automatic telephony switching!

    Times change, companies and products come and go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep times they are a changing. I never buy a local paper so I am partly responsibe but I am now wondering about whip manufacturers and all those trades we once used.

      Delete
  4. I haven't bought a Thanet Times for years. Last time I saw one, it had about 5 pages and the rest was adverts & property listings. More like a "Freeads" style paper than a newspaper. It was a very poor sister to the Gazette and it's been in decline for many years now.

    The Gazette still seems to be popular - certainly more than the Times ever was - I buy it most weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I guess the answer here is probably related to the use of technology, I would buy the E-Edition of the Gazette, I usually buy the paper edition, more to support the newspaper that out of necessity, when I can’t get out of my bookshop on Fridays to buy the paper edition. I would also probably buy the E-Edition out of preference, but for a number of factors.

    In the first instance the main articles from both papers are available online and for free, the advantages of the area where they are published online in this way are that you can comment on the articles and advertisement blocking software works reliably.

    The full E-Edition free for the Times and paid for, for the Gazette, has all the advertisements, which isn’t that bad, but the way it appears online isn’t consistent and reliable. Often pages that work ok on your computer won’t work on your smart phone and the site seems to make it very difficult for you to sign on once you have joined.

    Frankly the bottom line here is lack the confidence in the newspaper’s use of itc to pay anything for internet editions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The beginning of the end was when they got rid of the page 3 birds in 2005.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So, farewell Thanet Times,
    You were rubbish,
    But no worse than the Gazette,
    Let's hope that goes next.

    ReplyDelete
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