NEWS LEAK: Local news in 2021 is still part of the mix… it’s online

As an ex-journalist, my relationship with newspapers has changed over time.

I fell in love with them in the 1990s when I started to work on them and some ink will alwasys be in my blood.

In the 2000s I got frustrated, as newspaper owners blithely sailed on while the internet eclipsed tyheir business model.

True story: a senior executive at the regional daily newspaper I was an asistant chief reporter at dismissed the internet as ‘A fad like CB radio that will go out of fashion in six months.’

In the 2010s, I once gave a presentation called ‘Die Press Release! Die! Die! Die’ based on a blog post from a disillusioned former FT tech reporter.

I’ve seen good work as newspapers have re-invented themselves and I’ve seen them fail to act on abuse, insult and vaccine misinformation that endangers lives.

Here’s the data

Always, the queue should be in the data.

In 2021, the media is part of the wider comms mix. They’re often stronger online than they are in print.

Here’s some useful data on summer 2021 newspaper statistics.

The wider stats are useful but from a regional perspective, there’s the Reach titles Manchester Evening News on 30 million at 10th, Liverpool Echo 11th on 21 million and Birmingham Mail at 13 million.

Readers from across the UK will also see Scotland’s daily record 13 million and 19 million for walesonline.

What this means for comms teams

Comms teams have navigated away from the newsroom. The link between local journalism and the local council press office has substantially weakened. You can get a job in a comms team quite happily without ever having worked on a paper. Thirty years ago that was less common.

Yet, today’s comms teams don’t have the skills of shaping content for a newspaper, selling a story in or dealing with a hostile media query from a journalist on deadline.

I run the ESSENTIAL MEDIA RELATIONS workshop to give comms people the skills to be better at pro-active and reactive media relations.

Picture credit: istock.

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