Wednesday, 3 October 2012

RIP Thanet Times (1896-2012)


The Thanet Times is officially no more. It is an ex-newspaper. It has ceased to be. Pardon the pun, but sadly this is a sign of the times – beset by dwindling newspaper circulations figures, local journalism is nursing a severe case of financial anaemia, largely because these days consumers prefer to read the news for free on the internet.

From a circulation standpoint, the decision to close Thanet Times must have been difficult. According to HoldthePage.co.uk:

“The Thanet Times was 91pc free and according to the most recent ABC figures had an average weekly distribution of 33,509. 

Paid-for sister title the Isle of Thanet Gazette, which has a circulation of 9,867, will continue to be published.“

Despite 91% of its copies being free, it’s a shame to bid farewell to the Thanet Times when the Thanet Gazette only has a fraction of its circulation figures. If the Thanet Gazette gets 70.5% less potential readers than its sister paper, that’s a lot of potential households who might miss out on reading local news in the future – especially if they happen to be elderly or don’t have internet access.

Still... at least people can still buy the Thanet Gazette and I’m sure the This Is Kent website will continue to be a useful online resource for those of us who seek local news. But the closure of the Thanet Times does make me wonder how local journalism will look in thirty years from now. Does anyone care to make any predictions?!

6 comments:

  1. It's a bit like people who protest about new branches of major supermarkets opening locally. It is only because the self-same people then patronise them that smaller businesses fold. Similarly with paid-for local (and to an extent national) newspapers, people are turning increasingly to the Internet and other media forms and then wail when a newspaper ceases to be.

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  2. I was one of the 9% who was quite resentful that I was expected to pay for the Times. My local newsagents in Broadstairs only used to get about 10 copies & these sold out straight away. When customers moaned about this the newsagents stated they weren't allowed any more copies.

    Perhaps if they'd charged the other 91% the paper would have survived. I do remember on Twitter about a year ago it causing quite a bit of friction with those that had to pay vs those that got given their newspaper for free.

    Such a shame that another piece of local history has gone. I really hope that the Thanet Gazette survives as it does have a couple of good journalists who want to do far more than the "safe" and boring sports day or school nativity play reports.

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  3. Here's my prediction into the future, bloggers like myself will either be dead or so senile as to not care, all regional press will have long gone and you will be the last man standing in your fifties disillusioned and becoming more right wing by the day having realised that the Labour party are just a bunch of chancers just like the Tories who are a bit more honest in their ambition.

    With any luck you will have ceased to be a lackey of Labour and joined the liberals who at least are honest enough to be pragmatic while retaining a sense of social justice

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  4. I'm sensing a lot of pent-up frustration in your comments, Tony. I was asking for a prediction on the future of local journalism, not a meditation on my political views.

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  5. What planet is Tony on? Currently the LibDems are imploding and wont exists in 5 years time. Only 2020 members attended the party conference and organisers hastily curtained off sections of the conference centre to make it look more respectible. No doubt the rest of the members sent apologies.

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  6. Oh did they have cricket at conference then ? The local rag should have covered that.

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