Wednesday, 4 November 2009

North Wales Weekly News

Oscar made a post today about the North Wales Weekly News, noting that its circulation was still in sharp decline, falling 8.3% to 15,124 copies sold.

Much of the blame can be laid at what is perceived by many local people to be a decline in both the quality and breadth of the editorial content. It's just not considered good value or a good read any more and this is a real shame, as a good local newspaper can truly be at the heart of the community.

Of course, the fall in editorial content will be down to cost savings demanded by the bosses at the Weekly News' parent company Trinity Mirror Group. They apparently don't appreciate that their cost savings will result in the eventual demise of the newspaper, as it's a vicious circle...editorial content is cut, circulation falls, advertising revenue falls, more cuts are needed etc etc.

So what's needed? Maybe a return to local ownership? Who remembers the days (not that long ago) when the Weekly News was produced, published and printed in Conwy by R. E. Jones & Co. - the printing press building was on that now cleared strip of ground on the Quay next to the Liverpool Arms pub. Perhaps a local collective could be formed to buy it and return it to its roots? Shall we all get together and donate a fiver?

Failing that, perhaps a more radical approach to journalism and producing content is needed by the present management? Local bloggers and forums are uncovering and debating new local news stories every day - they could be a good source of new stories for the paper. How about asking for volunteers to become 'amateur journalists' and allow them to contribute stories about their particular area - all stories would be checked and reviewed by the Editor before publication, of course. The Weekly News has a fantastic archive of stories and photos going back to 1889, let's see more use made of that - there used to be excellent little features every week called '50 Years Ago and '100 Years Ago', where stories were taken from the archive. Maybe there could be an expanded feature every week focusing on the big stories from the past?

So, there's lots of potential to revive the Weekly News but is there the will within Trinity Mirror to do so...or is it such a small cog in the profit making machine that it could be allowed to fade away until the time for closure finally comes? I sincerely hope it can be revived...Thursdays wouldn't be the same without it!


Anonymous said...

The north wales weekly news don't check or review the stories they publish at the moment - so how they would find the money, time etc. to check stories by 'amateur journalists' i don't know.

The fact is that most of the stories in the north wales weekly news are by members of the public who phone them up about something thats upsetting them - maybe noise disturbance or someone putting in planning permission for something or other.

The north wales weekly news then publishes whatever these members of the public have told them with no attempt at all to research the story for themselves.

The amount of totally made up stories published in the north wales weekly news as fact is laughable.

Perhaps this is why the circulation figures have gone down - people watch eastenders etc to see something made up.....

Its a very poor paper

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