#OnThePodium: an ode to local news

Trinity Mirror has just announced a new national paper, called New Day, which will apparently be aimed at women (they’re launching on the 29th February – can you see what they’ve done there?!).

As a strategic move it certainly seems oddly-timed, because huge uncertainty surrounds the newspaper industry: earlier this month, the Independent became the first national title to announce that it was stopping printing, and moving to a digital-only business model. It surely won’t be the last.

Circulation figures are dropping as people prefer to consume their news online, via PC, smartphone or table, while the immediacy and blanket coverage of round-the-clock TV news channels means it’s hard for print to keep up and break news before anybody else does. Have you ever seen a millennial (basically people under 30, give or take) buying a newspaper for pleasure? Exactly.

Furthermore, online paywall models are flawed, and The Sun newspaper recently ditched its paywalls – presumably because the Daily Mail has got the celebrity gossip and women-not-wearing-very-much market totally cornered.

At Podium, we recently found that even a low-budget and limited social media campaign absolutely trounced an incredibly costly printed advertising campaign in two world famous magazine titles, in terms of web traffic generated, time spent on site, improved bounce rate, number of page views and cost.

Of course, the inevitable death of the newspaper (as a physical, printed thing) does NOT mean the death of journalism, and nor should it. We sincerely hope that the industry can find ways to extract enough digital revenue to be able to keep going, without resorting to clickbait. It’s a tough one.

One of Podium’s biggest reasons to want journalism to thrive is the local and regional newspaper. They still offer unrivaled coverage of key local issues, not to mention providing critical accountability and analysis of local government issues. They attend council meetings so we don’t have to, and distill issues down to the stuff we really need to know about. Local newspapers are massively underrated in this respect, and deserve everyone’s continued support – you never know when they’ll be fighting your corner.

Of course, local news isn’t always groundbreaking, so we are dedicating this edition of #OnthePodium to a few stories that have caught our eye this week that are perhaps less than significant.

Third place: ‘It’s all kicking off in…’

“It’s all kicking off in [name of town]” is one of my favourite memes. It is, in itself, a perfect ode to the finest examples of local news being very, very local.

It is gently mocking those items of news that perhaps don’t merit quite so much attention – those times when it really isn’t kicking off at all. A Google image search for ‘it’s all kicking off in’ reveals a plethora of examples, and here are some of our favourites.

Note that, the internet being the internet, there are many faked specimens out there, so take care. We hope we’ve avoided any traps, but let us know if you are aware of any of these not being real:

 

norwich-evening-news

crumpets

mouse

plant

bacon

You can find more examples at the sadly-discontinued It’s All Kicking Off blog, here.

Second place: man carries garden gnome.

Nice and simple one, this. Thanks, BBC (don’t forget, if you have a TV licence, you helped pay for this story.)

gnome

First place: the saga of the North Shields suspect package

It was definitely all kicking off in North Shields this week, as the discovery of a suspect package saw an on-the-spot (presumably roving) reporter tweeting live from the scene of a potential disaster, as the army arrived with a bomb disposal robot (true) to tackle the problem and to make the area safe.

We never get to find out what the suspect package was (just a package, at a guess) but the Twitter feed was fantastic.

Here are our favourite bits:

Marvel as a man goes into a house…

bomb 1a

…and then comes out again.

bomb2aa

Incredibly, an hour later, another man went into the house…

bomb1

And then he came out again.

bomb 2

 

The drama reached a crescendo when the robot arrived:

robot 1

And one excited onlooker asked another if they had seen it:

robot 2

 

I frankly feel like more questions have been raised than answered: what was in the package, for one, but more specifically, why was it so significant that the woman who had received the package ‘lived on her own’?

You can read the full saga here, and the Twitter feed here. It’s all kicking off, indeed.