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  • Sam Schofield

Why regional newspapers are still relevant

Newspaper sales continue to fall year-on-year - which probably comes as no surprise. There have been many reports on the decline of the national and regional press. You may have noticed your local newspaper's pagination dropping, which is a sign of falling advertising revenue. A drop in pages usually means a drop in staff, which affects both the quality and number of news articles, which means less readers and, therefore, less organisations willing to advertise.

That is why newspapers have been increasingly focusing on their online presence. While newspaper sales decline, website visitors increase (at least for some), allowing publishers to balance the falling revenue of one with the rising of the other. There is clearly still a demand for news (arguably greater than ever), so paying attention to consumers' changing habits is vital. Websites, social media, apps, emails, video, podcasts and more. How do you like to read, watch or listen to your news?

Personally, I love a good regional newspaper, and there will always be value in a regional news organisation covering what's going on in your village, town or city. A national title can't focus on the latest town council happenings the way a regional title can, for example. Holding government bodies, organisations, businesses and even individuals to account is the job of the press. There are no other avenues that do this job as broadly, effectively or independently as a well run news organisation.

Equally, many like to read their regional paper to learn about the good things going on in their towns and cities. A good regional newspaper can lift perceptions, change the reputation of a place and boost the pride of those living within the boundaries of the newspaper patch. This, in turn, can help bring investment, attract new residents, students and tourism. It's not all crime and politics but finding a balance that's important to a great regional publication.

I recently spoke with a very successful editor-in-chief of a regional title whose newspaper sales, while falling like every newspaper, were still more than twice those of sister titles in larger towns. Meanwhile, website visitors had skyrocketed into the multi-millions per month. He put this down to their tireless efforts championing their city and the multiple campaigns a year they organise to showcase what a wonderful, vibrant and happening place it is to live, work, study and invest.

Regional newspapers definitely still have their place and they are hugely important to everyone within their patch. Every customer focused business and organisation should have a good relationship with their regional news outlets and this is, essentially, PR. If you are looking to support and build your relationship with your local journalists, you can start by picking up the phone or dropping them an email and, of course, ensuring you buy the newspaper and visit the website, as well as listen and watch their digital content.

If you want to start getting your news into the press, we've written a series of blogs on:

Alternatively, if you're looking for professional PR support, then please drop us an email or give us a call and we'd be happy to discuss.



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