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Saturday, 2 October 2010

New Media (isn't) in Eden, Cumbria

"Mum, can you post me a copy of the Herald?" (our local paper) "I can't find out what is going on at home at all".

This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com



So I did. And then I googled our area, as did John Popham after his recent Big Society visit to Eden.

Sproglet is right. There's little to tell her online about what is going on up here, and the local newspaper site is pretty awful. Worse, the lesser-known Eden Messenger still doesn't know there has been a broadband conference here that everyone is talking about! (Until they catch up, I refuse to link to them).

So, hell, let's have our say:

Dear Sir/Madam and everyone involved in the Herald

Once again, we have just witnessed an exodus of our youngsters to colleges, universities and new jobs outside of Cumbria. The debates about why this is necessary could continue long into the winter months and beyond.

What is telling is that they want to keep in touch with 'home'. The cwherald website fails utterly to allow them to do that. How many times do I need to send a copy of the Herald (by post) to Wales and West Yorkshire to my offsprung, whilst other counties manage to update their websites, run Facebook pages, set up Twitter accounts for breaking news etc? I don't want to use up scarce environmental resources just to send a paper version of the local news. It seems wrong.

Many of us understand the economics of new media and we struggle to understand the Heralds' failure to keep up with the requirements of today's audience. Three stories from each edition on the website plus a couple of letters is never going to encourage anyone to purchase the paper edition. All you are doing is forcing potential purchasers away from your paper to online, live, dynamically generated news publications, such as those produced automatically through paper.li.

I hope those in charge of the Herald will accept that the next generation of readers are out there, using the next generation of applications and services to stay in touch with home. iPhone apps, Twitter, and Facebook pages are how these youngsters (and oldies) want to access our local news. Please, catch up, or your sales will only drop, and others will step into the breach by providing up to date, online, Cumbrian news.

Regards

I'm not holding my breath. I suspect the Herald is run by a bunch of people who, like many others in the 'industry', believe we are all going to tire of our new-fangled phones and computers, and go back to buying recycled paper......

2 comments:

David said...

Your headline "New media (isn't) in Cumbria" is not quite accurate. The excellent Nick Turner attended Rory Stewart's conference representing the digital part of the News and Star. I know that paper mainly covers Carlisle but as far as I know that is still Cumbria.

Nick certainly 'gets it' as a local blogger and chair of the Digital Editor's Network. He is part of the next generation of journalists who are not accepting that the internet will close all local papers. All power to him. Why not try supporting the News and Star rather than your ultra local news sheet

Cybersavvy UK said...

As I was sitting next to Nick as he blogged, I certainly should have given him a mention so apologies, Nick! It was a bit of a broad brush stroke, but it prompted you to comment ;o)

Tthe point I am trying to make is that here we have TV news that covers Newcastle and the Isle of Man (hardly relevant), whilst we have newspapers who can't put things about our area online. (We also, as you have rightly pointed out, have newspapers that do).

News and Star

The point surely is that news is most relevant and of most interest when it is about areas and people you know. And the digital medium is the cheapest, fastest and most accessible method of "making the news."

I don't live in a microcell as I spend my entire life online but I am interested in my community, as is my daughter because she wants to stay in touch with 'home'. The sad part is it is often easier to find out what is happening in some remote location on the far side of the world than on our own doorsteps.