Thursday, 1 October 2009

Kelner and email show crisis in local press

The continuing crisis in the local press was brought home to me in two ways yesterday.
One was an email from a local reporter I admire who works for a really good weekly.
They wrote: "I've just reached the point where I'm considering moving on or abandoning journalism altogether, even though I love the job, purely for the sad need of a better wage!"
The other was a poignant piece by the Independent's managing director and editor-in-chief Simon Kelner writing about the death of his first paper, the Neath Guardian. The article was carried in the last issue of the weekly Kelner joined as a trainee 32 years ago.
Kelner wrote: "It seems inconceivable that a town whose people thrive on knowing what's going on, who make it their business to know everyone else's business, will have no town crier.
"Hard though it may be to believe in this multimedia age, but the Guardian once occupied a central role in the life of the town, and sold (yes, sold) upwards of 10,000 copies a week.
"On a Wednesday (the day the paper came out), I used to walk to the market to get some lunch and it would take me the best part of an hour to walk down Queen Street.
"People would berate me about what I'd written about Neath Rugby Club ('you must have been at a different game') or they'd stop me to ask about what was going on in local politics, or invite me to the amateur dramatic production their daughter was starring in.
"It was hard, as a local reporter, not to feel you were playing an important role in the cultural, social and political life of the town."
Kelner's article is on Roy Greenslade's blog and HoldtheFrontPage.

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