LOCAL NEWSPAPERS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY

LOCAL NEWSPAPERS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY

Apart from when I am on holiday and have plenty of spare time to read them, I do not read newspapers.  There is no need to waste my valuable time struggling with them when I can get access to news headlines on the radio, my phone, television or search engine home pages any time I want.  That is another issue for me; do I want to know what is happening around the world because at least 90% of what we are told about, is not good news?  Usually it is all doom and gloom and most of us want to live happy lives as much as we can.

Although I opt out of having a national newspaper delivered every morning, I do have our local evening newspaper delivered.  When we got married 50 years ago, Lilian and I began to have it delivered because it was family tradition and included local Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Classified section.  Their photographer would even go along to a wedding and take a photo of the happy couple, which would be published along with details of the event, if a request form had been submitted by the bride.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the fact that the latest news information is now instantly available via the means I mentioned earlier, has had a negative impact on the newspaper industry.  The ‘nationals’ have suffered but are managing to survive.  Many of the ‘locals’ have closed or amalgamated as the services they provide have been superseded by the Internet, with most of them now having an Internet presence as well.

My local newspaper is the ‘SHIELDS GAZETTE’, established in 1849 it is the oldest provincial evening newspaper in the UK and is now part of Northeast Press, a division of Johnston Press.  It depends heavily on advertising to survive due to a significantly reduced readership these days.  Whilst the  Classified section will print Births, Deaths and Marriages it is a long time since I saw any Births or Marriages listed.  That is not a problem though because most subscribers, Lilian and I included, buy it to keep our eye on the Deaths columns so that we can attend a funeral if necessary.

I have picked this subject because I wonder why the younger generation do not want to publicise births and marriages anymore.  I suspect it is all done via social media, a networking facility that I am not into. 

In the case of the Shields Gazette the emphasis now is almost wholly on local issues concerning the council, health service providers, sport, charities and local good causes, predominantly ones that involve raising funds for kids who need some sort of special treatment or who are trying to achieve a goal.  However, Lilian picked up on an issue that is now close to most people’s hearts and after reading about a group of volunteers who are helping to support local people suffering from dementia, we made a donation from the Solar Solve Charity Fund.

Our local newspaper may not play as important a role as did in the past but it still plays a significant one and we have a lovely email from the Alzheimer’s Society volunteers to prove it.