UK Newswire Archive
17-03-2012 02:55The RtF Gathering went very well against the odds, against the will of the authority, in the wonderful sunshine of spring and beautiful surroundings of the forest. A full feed back will follow.
The gathering is still open for another lunar cycle, we will be conducting workshops every day from now on with a variety of skills on offer, all of the usual old school stuff and some more for the mix.
Open days for the public on saturdays with lots of fun, tea, workshops and family friendly atmosphere in the sun.
The imminent vote in the upper house, the Senate, on what is derisively called “Stronger Futures legislation”, will extend for 10 more years draconian restrictions on Aboriginal people who’ve already suffered five years of them.
16-03-2012 22:53Word is coming in of an attack by police on the Elba squat in Poland :[ one of Poland's largest squats - but the latest news is it hasn't been evicted!
16-03-2012 20:58A short write up from a protest in Palestine that ended in violence and arrests.
16-03-2012 15:52Interview with occupiers
16-03-2012 15:10a recent freedom of information request against the city of london police has shown the true extent of the city's might against st paul's occupy lsx
16-03-2012 14:55a disabled man was under who was under threat of eviction today found good support from locals as baliffs, police & battering ram was no match for neighbourly solidarity. he remains in the flat. more details when we get them...
The beginning of March saw the publication of Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, which showed the sales of regional daily papers. Nearly all of these papers are suffering from falling circulation, but the biggest faller is local rag the Nottingham Post.
This continues a long-standing trend for the paper which in the second half of 2010, saw circulation fall 11.6% year on year to 40,974, a 3.7% fall period on period. This compounded a 14.6% fall in the first half of 2011.
The paper’s difficulties have not been arrested by the decision to redesign the paper and remove the "Evening" from the title in April 2010. A further redesign at the beginning of this year is unlikely to have made much difference either.
Nearly all newspapers (local and national) are struggling to maintain readers and this is often attributed to the ability of potential buyers to get the news from the internet, where papers often distribute their content for free. While there may be some truth to this it is noteworthy that the Post website fell by 2.0% in the last six months of 2011. Its recent and wildly unpopular website redesign cannot have helped.
The paper’s demise is in large part attributable to its reliance on what Guardian journalist Nick Davies dubbed "churnalism." In his analysis, proprietors with a single-minded focus on profit had driven an increase in the quantity of content in papers, while vastly reducing the number of journalists. This meant that journalists were "reduced to passive processors of whatever material comes their way, churning out stories, whether real event or PR artifice, important or trivial, true or false" (Flat Eart News, p.59).
A quick perusal of the Post on any day will inevitably turn up a bevy of articles virtually indistinguishable from the press releases on which they were based. In some cases this can help campaigns, who are able to get their message in the paper with minimal difficulty. Compare for instance, this article in the Post with the original press release. Nevertheless, it is not good for journalism.
The nine councils in Nottinghamshire are responsible for budgets adding up to hundreds of billions of pounds. The various NHS bureaucracies control similarly vast sums and the lives of thousands of people can depend on them. Add in the police, other public sector bodies, local companies and it is clear that there are many organisations locally who need to be held to account. Simply reprinting press releases is not good enough.
It is tempting to look to blogs and sites like Indymedia to take up this role and in some cases they can do, but investigative journalism is difficult and takes a long-time. Even the excellent NCC LOLs - the paradigm example of an well written, well researched "hyperlocal" blog - often relies on information uncovered by the Post. It isn’t unreasonable that people spending hours making their way through council documents and doing battle with spin doctors should want to be paid for it, just like any other job.
People were seeing the writing on the Wall for the Post last year and its future as a daily is surely not good. The paper’s offices have recently been reduced from three to one floors with the others to let. A while back there were rumours of the paper being given away free (like the Metro), but this seems to have been dropped.
A plausible scenario is that the paper will go weekly, as its Northcliffe stablemate the Lincolnshire Echo did last September. Done well this might actually be good for the Post. It would allow them to to ditch the filler and focus on less, but better quality news. Add in some decent inserts and they might even begin to reclaim some of their readers.
The future of the Post as we know it is clearly not great. A paper with few fans, many would no doubt welcome its demise or at the very least revel in the schadenfreude, but with nothing to replace it, the long-term effects could be serious.
The problem of funding investigative journalism in a capitalist society are not new and not limited to Nottingham. If and how we manage to deal with this issue may have a serious effect on the kind of society we find ourselves living in in years to come.
16-03-2012 01:36We are having a public meeting today -Friday 7pm- at the Miners Welfare Hall in Cinderford, Glos. Please come along and join in discussing the future of your centre, and how it relates to the future of environmental education, and the privatisation of Forestry land -by proxy- through-out the country.