Monday, March 27, 2023
Are the cracks beginning to show in local newspapers?

Are the cracks beginning to show in local newspapers?

Newspapers in decline: Sinclair ditches Ceredigion print 

THE Ceredigion Herald will no longer be published in print. The newspaper barely two years old has been shelved by its editor Thomas Sinclair. He claims that Ceredigion was a hard nut to crack but Llanelli Online has been sent information relating to a former reporter for the Ceredigion Herald who claims he was not paid and had to take on Sinclair to try and recover his money.

In an article in Journalism Matters (Newspaper owner’s dissolved businesses amassed nearly £120,000 of unpaid CCJs) former employees claimed that Sinclair’s public image of success hid financial problems which meant they were rarely paid on time or in the correct amounts. Two former reporters claimed that reporters were asked to re-write stories that had appeared in the Western Telegraph.

There is an ongoing trend, which is seeing news in print declining. The Press Gazette’s ABC signals the demise of newspapers in print as well as weekly magazines and the signs are that the decline is set to continue as more and more people switch to online content.

The Llanelli Star still decorates news stands around the town but its dedicated Llanelli Star website disappeared taking with it much of the town’s local history. The online content is now firmly aligned with Wales Online.

The Pembrokeshire Herald  launched in July 2013, followed in 2015 by Carmarthenshire and Llanelli versions. The Ceredigion Herald became the group’s fourth in April 2016.

Sinclair who has twice been convicted for breaking the law whilst he was editor at the Herald has signalled that digital is the future. It begs more questions as to the future of the other printed editions including the Llanelli edition, which according to some local sources appears to be in decline.

In October 2016 Sinclair was fined £500 for naming a youth in a court case and again in May when he was ordered to pay £3,650 in fines and compensation for publishing an article with information likely to identify a sex offence victim.

The newspaper industry, which some claim is in a spiral of decline as more people turn to online news sites,  has been buoyed by a generous offer from the BBC to provide free labour for some of the largest media companies in the U.K. This at a time when journalists are losing jobs at the same companies and complaining to their unions regarding pay and working conditions.

The Welsh Assembly Government have earmarked £200,000 for hyperlocals. It remains to be seen who gets a share of that money and when.

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