Nik Hewitt, a multimedia specialist who was made redundant by Northcliffe Digital in January, has given an interview to journalism.co.uk's Judith Townend which gives a digital perspective on the current crisis in the regional press. The following are some of his quotes, starting with his most dramatic prediction:
"It wouldn't surprise me if within the next three years at least 50 per cent of local titles are just printed in one large area, with an insert put into them that tries to make them as local as possible."
"I'm going to be quite cruel here, there is a place for print journalism, but that place probably isn't for very long. We don't want to buy a newspaper in the evening anymore. I don't like using the words 'print is dead', but it's not very well,"
"Within the industry there's a lot of resistance to the move to digital - there's so many things we can, as an industry, do to smooth the way [but] when you're looking at large institutions - Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, Northcliffe - where regional centres are often in control of their output and also in charge of what they do with digital, these centres are naturally resistant to change, because they're very old institutions."
"There's a place for good information and we trust the information we get from our newspapers. We haven't lost the market yet. I think there'll always be a place for good reporters, for good editors. I'm not of the school that thinks because you own a blog, you're a reporter."
"We can improve advertising click-through by making it targeted, better, and receptive to the user. Now we can deliver through so many channels, we have to exploit them all - we have to exploit Twitter; exploit Facebook."
"I don't know what people mean by regional, or local - the only time I personally look locally is when I'm looking for services, and the only time I use it then is through Google and keywords."