Tomorrow’s Chip Paper

December 4th, 2008 by Rob Brown

Ocean Basket Seafood Restaurant: Fish & Chips

When I was a kid I loved everything about fish and chips.  There was something almost decadent about it, the smell of vinegar drifting up the street from the chippy.  Unfolding the sheaves of newspaper to get at those hot, tender morsels. Being treated to an extra meal by a conspiratorial uncle – it was all good.

Before the chippies started to fade from our street corners, they started to abandon the newspaper as the standard wrapping for their culinary gifts, perhaps it wasn’t regarded as sufficiently hygienic.  We lost something there, but if you told me that one day the newspapers themselves might start to disappear I would have been aghast at the very idea.

There is attrition today in newsrooms around the world.  With the rise of digital and the emergence of new sources of news, even the BBC used twitter to inform their coverage of the Mumbai attacks, circulations and revenues are falling.  Yesterday all of the news staff at the Glasgow Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald were made redundant and invited to reapply for a smaller number of roles.

I predict that in less than two years the rationalisation of our national dailies will begin, with closures and mergers leaving news stands that bit lighter.   Don’t get me wrong I like the choices that are laid before us.  There are still chippies and there will always be newspapers but we are all adjusting to a new daily diet.  We just need to be mindful to preserve the best of what we have; whatever the recipe, whatever the format.  

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

2 Responses to “Tomorrow’s Chip Paper”

  1. Ginnie Oram Says:

    I think this is really sad news.

    My colleague and I were only just talking about the fact that it’s so much easier to now track regional newspaper coverage as they all run on-line editions way before the print versions hit the newstands.

    Good for keeping your finger on the pulse and knowing where you’ve had a hit but – particularly in the case of local newspapers – it’s a real erosion of what they stood/stand for: reporting grass roots issues that local people are interested in.

    The Newspaper Society used to proudly proclaim the fact that people were more likely to trust their local read than anything the national print media had to say. Not sure they will be able to hold onto this stat for very much longer if the above is anything to go by…

  2. Jon Says:

    It wasn’t that long ago that journalists I worked with in regional papers moved freely between titles when either they got fed up of the beat they were working, the low pay or a particularly tyrannical news editor. There were also the reporters and subs who seemed to get away with living a twilight existence where ascertaining what they actually did was, shall we say, opaque. But not in any job before or since have I seen camaraderie and a passion for the job quite like it. I’m all for progress, but there’s something reassuring about the feel of newsprint; containing all the important things you need know that day or week, that will be missed if newspapers fade out forever.

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