Friday 27 January 2017

Times changing for the better at the BKT?

This week's edition
Our local newspaper the Brent and Kilburn Times will be without News Editor Lorraine King  by the end of next week and reporter Nathalie Raffray has already gone to the Ham and High. Lorraine will become Editor of the (deep breath!) Barking and Dagenham Post, Newham Recorder and the Dockands and East London Advertiser. 

Where does that leave us in Brent?  As part of Archant's shift towards digital and its cut back in jobs a junior reporter (we used to call them 'cub reporters' in the old days) will be all that is left. He will face the daunting task of reporting on a major London borough of 325,000 people (and growing), one of the most diverse in the country, with great potential as well as major social problems, covering huge and often controversial regeneration projects, and an almost 'one party' Council that needs fearless scrutiny.

Some people  have told me of their envy for Camden residents who have the lively Camden New Journal and say we need a local paper like that in Brent.  Local papers are under financial pressure through loss of readers, loss of advertising and competition from the social media, but they also need good management and excellent distribution. Both the latter appear to be missing. I was told by a newsagent on Kilburn High Road only last week that he had stopped stocking the Brent and Kilburn Times because distribution was so unreliable. It is given away at some supermarkets,  stations and  estate agents but there are no longer house to house deliveries and the paper is often not to be found in newsagents.

All that said, local newspapers need to be supported by residents, not only through buying them but through writing letters, phoning in stories and encouraging a robust attitude towards upsetting local big wigs.

As someone remarked to Lorraine on Twitter, 'If you don't put some backs up you are not doing your job.'


Anonymous said...

Murdoch has predicted that newsprint will die in the coming years. Whilst I have no time for him, he was right about firing satellites into space and beaming TV around the world.

So yes, I agree local print and journalism is wonderful, but if it's not profitable then little wonder Archant are investing where they can survive most?

Emily Banks said...

As Editor of Brent and Kilburn Times, I feel as sad as you about the loss of Lorraine King, who is moving on to an editor's job on another title after her role as news editor was made redundant. You will not be left with just a cub reporter. I will be taking a much closer role in the newspaper and will do my absolute best to keep serving your vibrant and amazing community. Thanks for alerting me to these distribution problems which I will look into right away. Emily Banks, Editor.