NS chairman: local press has positive future

“Shorter
stories, more fun and plenty of variety” – this was the recipe for
success advocated by new Newspaper Society president Sir Nicholas
Hewitt.

The Barnsley Chronicle chairman, above, addressed fellow
local newspaper publishers at the NS council meeting and delivered an
upbeat assessment of the state of the industry.

He said: “As
businesses we have evolved and reinvented ourselves and enjoyed a
number of cycles. While the pundits predict doom and gloom for the
printed word, I am optimistic.

“The characteristics of newspapers
are an important part of people’s lives – they are easy to access,
portable, permanent and make a welcome change to the flashing screens
that dominate most of the rest of our lives – but it is content that
will really determine our future.

“No other media has the
resources to collect and distribute local news in the depth that we
have. I am sure the figures show that the more local the news is, the
stronger the title. But it is not just about local news, it is about
what local news we carry and how we present it.

“People’s
perceptions change; they want shorter stories, more fun and plenty of
variety. We have to make every square centimetre of editorial space
work as best we can. I do not believe there is a universal formula.
News tastes vary – local tastes are paramount.”

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