The price of a local paper
Why there are plenty of reasons to spend money on your regional paper
During the coronavirus pandemic, the media has taken on a more important role within society. It has been through the media that the public have been kept informed of how the situation is being handled around the world. It has also shown how the UK public have reacted to the way their national media covers news stories, which many people turn against the mainstream media.
The national media in the UK is often criticised, with fingers being pointed at bias from reporters and obvious undertones of racist, sexist and other offensive angles from certain publications. When the supposedly unbiased media picks up a clear political bias, maybe the frustration from the public starts to look justified.
With the decline in newspapers being made worse by the lockdown, a campaign was started on social media encouraging people to buy a newspaper. The option was floated to buy a paper instead of a morning coffee, unfortunately the reaction on social media was mainly negative to this. For many, the trust in buying a national paper is no longer there. So many people don’t want to part with their money to purchase a newspaper anymore, and any ill feeling towards the media does not discriminate.
To tar every reporter and every media outlet with the same brush is to be wrong, unfair and immature. The campaign to buy a paper did not necessarily mean you needed to buy a national paper. On everyone’s doorstep and down their local newsagents is a paper dedicated to telling them about events in their village, town or county.
The reporters at these publications have no agenda, and are determined to find the stories local to them. The local paper is a place to have events promoted. That story about the charity raising money for a new park for the children of the community will feel a damn sight more important than anything in a national paper to many people of that community. The money used to buy that paper helps to get stories like this into the public domain.
With the attitude towards the national media turning more sour, more of the public will likely turn away from buying a paper. Whether its frustration of the coverage from the national media, preferring to take in their news from unchecked social media accounts, or some other reason, the boycotting and criticising of UK media is in danger of threatening local news agencies too.
Why am I suggesting this? Having worked in local media, I have seen what the reporting of a story about a charity fundraiser or a new independent business opening can mean to those involved and the wider community. It has a far more meaningful outcome than the agenda taken up in national papers, not to mention it is rewarding.
If you no longer feel like you want to pay for one of the national papers, don’t turn it into a vendetta against every media outlet. Use the money to buy a paper, in print or online, about your local area and for your local area. The media is going through one of its toughest periods in history, and although some people have lost faith in it, the free press still has plenty of important stories to tell.
The UK media, whether national or local, will be missed if it ever did change out of recognition; regardless of the opinions of many on Facebook, Twitter etc…