Local newspapers – end of an era or not

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    Ioan y Ffin

    The Wrexham Leader leaving town is partly a belated reaction to the changes in how we consume news and partly owing to the fact that its owners seem to ignore their own strengths and the weaknesses of their digital rivals. There is a gap for a weekly newspaper, that doesn’t try to be first with the news story, but actually offers a deeper and broader range of local news stories from around the county and further afield across north-east Wales. for some bizarre reason it still occasionally cover national UK news, as if we were still in the 1950s. the wrexham leader and its sister papers could cover north-east/north wales political, economic, cultural, business and social news as no weekly paper does that and who can get such news from a daily newspaper run from liverpool or cardiff. local newspapers elsewhere in the UK hold local government politicians, local MPs, health trusts, police commissioners, AMs etc etc to account, but nothing like that really happens in north-east Wales and we are the ones who lose out.

    wrexham.com doesn’t have the ability to cover the whole of the county borough, let alone north-east Wales and is heavily reliant on press releases from local organizations (which are little more than free advertising and backslapping) plus the regular diet of road traffic accidents,missing kids,police helicopter incidents and attempts to hold the county council to account in relation to certain topics that interest its writers.

    i would put my hand in my pocket once a week for a decent informative and local newspaper, but the wrexham leader isn’t that and i am not surprised fewer and fewer people actually bother to buy a copy. as long as it persists with its failed policy of fewer and fewer journalists slaving away, barely leaving their offices as they rush to cobble together a daily newspaper, it will achieve little more than slowly writing its own obituary.



    Frankly, in this digital era I’m amazed that any newspaper has survived thus far.
    I honestly can’t recall the last time I picked one up for perusal or otherwise.



    I think Wrexham.com has the right balance of hyperlocal content – does what it says on the tin. The majority of people from Wrexham and probably other locations in the rest of North East Wales probably couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the other towns and counties as it has very little impact on them. This is proven by the news disconnect between North and South Wales where the South covers very little about what is going on up North and vice-versa.

    Chill is right the digital era has completely changed how certain content types and functions in the traditional print media have been made obsolete. If you look at various subsections of the Leader set-up back in the day.

    Gypsy Jean – who didn’t love the Bargain Bazaar buy/sell page. But now we have Facebook local goods/wants and eBay etc…

    Lonely Hearts Section – All replaced by left and right swipery – Tinder, Grindr, DateAJacko.com type sites.

    What’s going on locally – Even more hyper local community news – if you want to drill down into the latest jam and bake sale and local sporting club endeavours you go on one of the many Local Facebook Groups set-up around Wrexham or get a Town centre or overall county matters discussion. You look at those groups and they are all have admin and dedicated contributors who spend many hours on there for free covering more local news than was ever covered within the local press.

    Fantasy Football – used to be featured in the Leader and you’d have to phone an expensive 0845 number to make team changes. Now all done for free online or on apps.

    Business Adverts – commercial business and want to advertise locally? Far more effective and trackable to do so via Facebook/Instagram/Google.

    I’m not saying it’s all perfect – there was something about reading things in print in papers which was superior and more ritualistic in many ways to finding things out online.

    I dare say there is a gap in the market for a digital interest site covering North East Wales where people are encouraged to contribute in their local regions and areas of interest and expertise. It could not cause any harm to bring together some kind of stronger cultural identity online for North East Wales.

    Same applies to Wrexham as a whole – it’s all very disjointed at the moment where you have to trawl to find out what. You have to join about 20+ local interest groups and follow several key influencers to piece things together – it’s like some kind of giant grapevine.

    There’s also no real strong editorial style/opinion pieces being developed and distributed for people to read – except for perhaps the very strong political partisan driven ones from Plaid/Labour/Conservatives etc… you’d think there’s be a few more prominent bloggers/vloggers or podcasts just about Wrexham and how people feel.

    I’d like to see things push forward in that direction – if you packaged all that together – the local interest hits would be through the roof.



    The “Wrexham “Leader should have been reported to Trading Standards years ago as the level of Wrexham new in the Wrexham edition has fallen so much that if you take out the court reports the actual ‘news content has been non existent for a long time now.
    There is space for someone to really look at an electronic news platform that is informative and provides items that are topical with a local context

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