Theresa May to fuel a newspaper revival?

It’s a line that, as PR professionals, we hear so often; “Which paper will my story appear in?”  I find this surprising as in recent years there seems to be so much mistrust in the media, as well as the fact that there is a common trend for people to access their news online.

But there is still something very nostalgic about reading a print newspaper; it’s an important part of our culture, and something that I personally hope is not lost.

The first published paper to be distributed in England was the Oxford Gazette in 1665, followed closely by the Berrow’s Worcester Journal (formerly the Worcester Postman) in 1690, both of which are still being published to date. (This fact pleases me greatly, being born and bred in Worcestershire myself.)

Newspapers went from strength to strength and for a long time it was the main form of communicating local and national news to its readers.

Back to the present day, the UK’s press has been under immense financial strain. According to Press Gazette, 198 local titles have ceased publication since 2005. Print circulation has also been significantly reduced with cover price rises, editorial cutbacks and online readership to blame for these setbacks.

It’s a worrying time for the industry, so we were pleased to hear the recent announcement from Theresa May confirming a review into its future.

The Prime Minister recognised that other media platforms may not be as credible and commented: “Good quality journalism provides us with the information and analysis we need to inform our viewpoints and conduct a genuine discussion.

“In recent years – especially in local journalism – we’ve seen falling circulations, a hollowing-out of local newsrooms, and fears for the future sustainability of high quality journalism.”

The review will look into sustainable funding models for printed local, regional and national press.

With a culture of having news and information at our fingertips, the internet is generally the first place we turn to when we need information, news included. But this culture has brought its disadvantages with ‘fake news’ and ‘clickbait’ style articles in wide circulation.

It’s difficult to know whether what you are reading is always true, and we often revert back to the more credible news sources, our local and national newspapers, to determine the truth.

Local newspapers still play an important part in the communities we live. It’s an opportunity for local businesses and authorities to let you know about what could impact on your life. It’s a place to find out about the good and bad in your area, and for local employers to attract their future recruits.

While some people cannot understand why you would want to purchase a paper when you can access news online for free, others recognise that a print version will always provide you with more stories, and generally more detailed versions.

There is also the unavoidable risk that as more and more people turn online, and the circulation figures for papers reduce, so does their advertising revenue.

The Prime Minister’s review is most certainly welcomed at this stage. Newspapers have played a huge part in British culture and we hope not to lose this anytime soon.