MEN goes ‘more local’
The Manchester Evening News has changed its edition structure to offer readers two editions for the vast Greater Machester region – north and south.
Explaining the changes, a short posting on Monday says the change will give readers ‘a greater focus on the area where you live.’
This includes a front page dedicated to your area and specific pages inside with all the latest local news and information for where you live.
And it helpfully provided these two screen grabs showing the difference.
Readers were, as ever, quick to comment on the changes and raise the issue of localness.
Theoretically, a brilliant idea and one to be commended. It’s great to see the MEN thinking of new ways to survive.
That said, it seems to me that the only way to really get into the heart of communities is to be there. Properly immerse yourself in the communities. I know that’s easier said than done, particularly with the industry in the pickle it is and the lack of resources available to you.
But if this change means anything, then allow your reporters the time and space to work their patches!
The changes announced yesterday also include a revamp of CityLife, a new column on matters of faith and the old favourite – ‘a trip down memory lane every Monday and Tuesday with pages of photos from yesteryear.’
Talking of Manchester…..
The Guardian has released a new way of looking at its ‘most interesting’ content – using algorithms to measure interestingness by “a number of social signals including; incoming links, shares around social media, view count, editorial selection, number of comments and positive deviation from the norm for an article in its particular section.”
You may well expect the Guardianista’s would be most interested in social issues, Leveson or press freedom but it’s interesting to note just how often northern football stories – particularly both Manchester clubs – pop up in the ‘most interesting’.
Football fans’ online promiscuity is well-known but does that entirely explain what’s happening there?
Now the the once Manchester-based national’s staffing has reduced to just one full time northern based journalist (the newly appointed, hard-working editor Helen Pidd) it’s hard to know what conclusion to draw from that. Does the location of those producing the news actually matter much? Would those figures be even higher with a northern based news and sports desk pounding the beat?
Leeds’ Richard Horsman considers this question in a radio context where news ‘hubs’ have become commonplace over boots on the ground.
Writing at The CultureVulture, ‘So what is ‘Local’ news anyway’ he says:
The flip side is local knowledge, which tends to dilute across a bigger patch. Woe betide anyone talking to Bradford who pronounces Keighley as ‘keely’ or Allerton as anything other than ‘ollerton’. Old time district reporters are also more likely to recognise the names on the New Year honours list and have some clue why they’ve earned a gong beyond ‘services to education’ or ‘the arts’
What do you think? Can maths get the job done or is all this talk of hubs and centralisation doing reader a disservice? Love to hear your views.