My last few blog entries have focused on local newspapers and their position as significant media platforms within our society. However, what I think is particularly interesting is how people access local news in the 21st century has expanded dramatically with the evolution of modern technology.
In fact, according to The Newspaper Society, there are currently 1,100 local newspapers and 1,700 associated websites in the UK alone. This is proof that local news matters, and that the development of the internet and social media websites has offered local news providers more channels for reporting the latest news concerning their area.
Over the years we have changed the way that we consume news. In the past it was almost a tradition for people to sit down every day and watch the 6pm and 10pm news. Now people are kept up-to-date minute by minute, as news is reported 24/ 7 with the BBC News Channel sending out a bulletin to smart phones when there is breaking news. We are constantly kept informed by numerous media channels, which means that we can choose the channel that most appeals to us and obtain information how we want to.
People living in our modern society tend to have busy and hectic lifestyles, meaning that they don’t always have the time to sit down and read a printed copy of their local newspaper (I know I don’t!) Yet, the beauty of smart phones and tablets is that I have access to local news, whenever and wherever I am, via my local newspaper’s website and social media pages.
I am an avid user of social media and follow my local newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer’s Twitter page as a way of keeping informed about updates and news in my local area such as the recent events that took place in Gracechurch Shopping Centre to celebrate its 40th birthday. The media savvy among us may not necessarily think to pick up a copy of their local paper, but with access to news through social media pages it has never been quicker or easier to keep informed.
With local news available both in print and online it is reaching larger audiences than ever before as it is available by way of numerous platforms, and so no longer isolates any particular groups within society. People care about what is going on in their local area as it affects them directly and on a personal level, and with 80% of people spending half or more of their time within five miles of their home, (according to a survey by Loving Local), it is not surprising. What is more, this increasing access to local news through various media gives more people the opportunity to actually take an interest in what’s going on in their area.
The Birmingham Mail states that they aim to highlight and campaign for major issues that matter to their readers, yet national newspapers tend to inform us of how something will impact the average person. This emphasises the value of local news as it provides us with a balanced, local view and news that is being reported in the interest of the local people living in that area. This explains why the majority of people choose to read a local newspaper, as they trust the news that is being reported *.
Local news matters and it’s irrelevant whether news is accessed from a printed newspaper, website, mobile phone or even a tablet. What’s important is that we have knowledge of what is happening in our local area, as this will ultimately have an effect on our daily lives!
PR and Social Media Account Executive Intern
* The Newspaper Society 2014