In this digital age, it seems inevitable that someone somewhere is talking about the demise of the printed press. Recently DGMT sold all of its local papers due to lack of profit and the Guardian is losing around 30 million a year.
However, newspapers can be some of the most captivating pages on the planet. We are drawn in by the front cover, the pages between our fingers, and can read for hours with no distraction, which is a far cry from news online where we pick headlines and scan for a few seconds.
This video from an advertising company on behalf of a Belgian newspaper publisher shows just how captivating printed pages can be. Even professional advertisers don’t notice what is going on.
“To catch people’s attention and hold it? That’s what newspapers do.” Quite a fitting slogan really, and one that is being demonstrated in Bristol as hyper-local newspapers spring up around the city.
Two ex Bristol Post workers have set about building a brand – one that works for the local community and does a better job than that of the established press.
The Voice currently has four titles out -Filtonvoice, Keynshamvoice, Yatevoice and Bishopstonvoice. The great thing about this hyper-local model is that is is set to expand, and the format is easy to use.
So easy in fact that the Bishopstonvoice, which has only just launched, was done by students from the University of the West of England (UWE). Rather than fight for control, the creators simply have a licensing agreement which is based on the success of the publication.
This means that all sides benefit, both editorially and commercially. And it works. The brand is in talks to expand vastly across the city, and with so many journalism students out there wanting to get bylines while getting paid, this could be the opportunity they’ve been looking for.
If you know a lot about a small patch, one that has been neglected by the local press, it might be worth getting in touch. This brand is working and there is an opportunity for it to work for you, all you need to do is put in the effort.
What do you think? Could hyper-local publications like this work? Ever thought about setting one up or trying something similar?
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look