Monday, 24 November 2008

Only a matter of time

Have had a break from blogging for a week: catching up with real work and ward work after spending so much time during the North Road by-election bringing the democratic process into disrepute by communicating with the voters (link here November 12th).

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine who works for the Northern Echo told me their advertising revenue had fallen by 70%. And today we see the inevitable consequence: the announcement of job losses at North of England Newspapers. I do hope this is enough to ensure this newspaper's survival.

While some local Labour Councillors would prefer it if Liberal Democrats did not communicate and interact with the electorate (it makes things so messy when there's more than one message out there) we will continue to do so: and I sincerely hope as well that the Northern Echo will survive the current economic crisis and continue to do a superb job of reporting on local news and holding those in power to account.

Although I manage to get my name in the Echo with some regularity (always available with a quote) my main contact with them was before I was elected, when I was part of the Say No To Tesco campaign. The editor, Peter Barron, was determined that this issue would be comprehensively covered and he put his organ right out there at the front of the debate. In this, and in so many of its own campaigns over the years, the Echo has proven itself to be an essential part of the life of this town. Not many towns of our size can support a daily local newspaper. We need it.

The Echo has a great mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm amongst its reporting and editorial staff. Without them, the democratic process would be the poorer.


Anonymous said...

"The Echo has proven itself to be an essential part of the life of this town. Not many towns of our size can support a daily local newspaper."

This is precisely the Echo's problem - it claims to be "local, regional and national" yet has an obsessive focus on the most parochial rubbish from Darlington. As it slowly closes down all of its district offices it will eventually simply become the Darlington Echo, packed full of tales of cats stuck up trees and people getting parking tickets, which is a pity for a publication that once called itself the great daily of the north

Anonymous said...

I guess that I am like many people.
I say aloud that I dislike the Echo in its current format and then pick up a copy at my local leisure club, go straight to the Darlington section and see if there are any stories that interest me.
I hope it survives!! although the tabloid format, I think, could be its death knell.
I know lots of people who would buy it again if it returned to its large size.

Anonymous said...

The Echo is on its last legs. I suspect a lot of its elderly readers will get the paper purely for Mike Amos's many columns and when he retires, they may as well shut up shop.

miketually said...

Owen seems to be getting set up as Mike Jr for just that eventuality.