Local newspapers in peril: as local newspapers collapse, information is finding new ways to reach people. Not all are high-tech

What happens when a place loses its newspaper? Most of the 80 or so local papers that have closed in Britain since the beginning of last year were the second- or third-strongest publications in their markets. But the weekly Bedworth Echo, which published its last issue on July 10th, was the only paper dedicated to the town’s news. A small former mining settlement in the Midlands, Bedworth also lacks a radio station. Although it will still be covered by newspapers focused on its bigger neighbours, it is now a town without news.It will not be the last. With a few exceptions (see article below) local newspapers are declining quickly. Trinity Mirror, which owned the Echo, shut 27 local newspapers last year and has already closed 22 this year. The main reason more local papers have not collapsed, says Paul Zwillenberg of OC&C, a consultancy, is that they were cushioned by large operating margins. Many have gone from annual profits of up to 30% to negligible earnings. As they tip into loss, the trickle of closures is likely to become a torrent. Enders Analysis, a media consultancy, reckons a third to a half may go in the next five years.
http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14082998Also see:True grit: why some papers manage to stay alive and kicking
For all the woes of local newspapers across Britain, there are those that thrive. Among them are the New Milton Advertiser and the Lymington Times.Located in a sleepy stretch of the south coast, with water on one side and the ponies and thatched roofs of the New Forest on the other, the picture-book towns of Lymington and New Milton attract more than their share of retired folk and visitors. The Advertiser & Times, as local people call the papers collectively, are black-and-white weekly broadsheets, with the same ads but slightly different editorial content. Nearly 22,000 copies all together are printed in-house on a secondhand 1950s litho-plate printing press each week. The style and values of the papers are every bit as traditional as their 88-year-old proprietor, Charles Curry, who still edits them.

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