Video: Local newspapers debate – dead or alive?

After 118 years of publishing daily, the Lincolnshire Echo has gone weekly – and the acting editor of the paper Steve Fletcher discussed the future of local newspapers in a debate at the University of Lincoln.

Joining him on the panel for the “Journalists Speak out on Journalism” guest lecture was Professor Tim Luckhurst, professor at the University of Kent and ex-editor of The Scotsman, and Neil Fowler, former editor of local newspapers who is researching local papers at the University of Oxford.

Fletcher defended the £1 price of the weekly Lincolnshire Echo saying that it is good value for money, but the move was necessary claiming that the newspaper couldn’t continue as it was because people don’t have the inclination to read papers six nights a week.

He also revealed that one of the most popular sections of the redesigned paper is the courts pages, which lists many of the cases in the magistrates’ court over the past three weeks.

Tim Luckhurst discussed his ideal local newspaper model: hyperlocal blogs using audio and video pulled together to cover a regional area in a weekly newspaper, with strong partnerships with other local media and universities.

Luckhurst also expressed concerned about “citizen journalism” because they do not receive the same training as journalists, although said that more people submitting content to newsrooms was an important development.

— The next talk in the series sees Jane King and Marc Wadsworth debating “Is the future citizen journalism” on Monday, October 31st at 6:15pm. You can watch Jane King’s talk from last year here.

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