However, I’m a little surprised this has happened just a short time after the dramatic closure of Trinity Mirror’s New Day. On the one hand my heart wants to cheer the news of a newspaper opening, but my head just says it’s a train crash waiting to happen.
And what sort of newspaper is it? It will have an editor and two reporters bravely drafted in for however long as the paper lasts. Much of the content will be supplied by PA and the reporters will spend time giving the content a northern feel.
The newspaper, the idea of independent regional publisher CN Group, is modelled on the Metro, which also uses lots of wire content but doesn’t have a foothold in the area. The new paper will cost 40p for just 40 pages, a penny a page, while the Metro is a free pick-up based around the transport network.
According to the Press Gazette, CN’s Group chief executive Miller Hogg says that the decision to launch a new title was based on research into the distribution area and is aimed at people who “want a straight-talking newspaper which is of relevance”.
Interesting. What does ‘relevance’ mean in this case. I can only assume it means that it has stories from the north. Mr Hogg talks about covering northern football and court cases from the big northern city.
This is fine, but why would it work? This is a traditional format of news, bundling up stories and throwing it at the public. It is clear the public no longer want this, or to be more accurate, they don’t need to have this form of bundled news.
The public are now their own editors. They don’t sit and wait by the letterbox for a newspaper put together by an editor who has decided what they need to read.
Readers are now their own editor, they decide what news they want. Thanks to search engines they can find their specific areas of interest and don’t even look at other news out there.
For years editors fed the public with news, but the reality is that people chose what they wanted to read in a newspaper and glazed over the rest.
What the web has highlighted is that much of the news produced in a bygone era failed to register with readers, unless they had an interest in it.
This is why newspaper groups monitor to depth what they put online and if an article, video or blog brings in an audience, they add similar content to feed the audience until they have had enough.
This is part of the reason for the decline of newspapers, the idea of bundling up news and giving it to readers is out-dated.
You could argue that 24 will be read because it has its own bundle of northern news, but this will not be enough. The only saving grace is that CN is looking for at a conservative readership of 10,000, usually the breaking point where a daily becomes a weekly.
But, like the New Day, not having its own web site is a big hole in the business plan. Having said that, Google doesn’t like duplicate content and with much content coming from PA, this will be inevitable as stories are picked up by other outlets.
It is interesting to note that recent research shows that 60 per cent of those who use Twitter and Facebook rely on these social media giants to provide their news, this figure can only go up.
Similarly, Mr Hogg argues 24 is after a slice of regional and national advertising. He is in for a battle as Facebook and Twitter continue to suck up advertising, damaging traditional media income by up to 30 per cent.
I wish them well, but fear not even Kiefer Sutherland can save 24 from ending up like the New Day.