By Tim Dixon
Our national newspapers continue to defy the sceptics who predict the demise of print journalism. Look at the Sunday market right now.
The Observer, The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times stand out in particular, all offering thumping great packages bursting with compelling journalism. They ooze confidence, are exuberant and appear to be at the top of their game, brilliantly written, expertly edited and beautifully assembled. You wouldn’t think that newspapers are having such a tough time of it, based on a few hours spent enjoying robust titles such as these three.
Surely what they demonstrate is a faith in and a commitment to print journalism. And that determination is similarly evident in the exciting new wave of independent local newspapers. They are fuelled by a passion to serve their communities and a belief that their journalism will be rewarded by public support.
But this is not a gold rush. There are not huge sums of money to be made from this toil and commitment. But business models are emerging – many through trial and error – as these latest pioneers of community journalism find a way to make their publications sustainable.
I read this week about a new hyper-local media agency called Pintarget, which aims to help advertisers target local audiences with greater precision.
The agency said it would help brands capitalise on local marketing and was also talking to a wide range of media owners about new ways to access hyper-local media.
“There is a revolution in local media,” a Pintarget spokesman said. “It’s vital to develop the right technology and partnerships so that we can enable clients to dynamically target local audiences with greater precision, speed and with reduced handling costs.”
Could this be a breakthrough moment for small, independent publishers, connecting them to new revenue streams that could make their fledgling enterprises not only viable but much more profitable? Let’s hope so.