Lancaster Guardian editor Nicola Adam writes this week’s Business Guest Columnist
The changing role of local newspaper titles is very much the subject of debate at the moment. On one hand we still produce our fantastic newspaper titles. But with the changing habits of readers and nationally reducing circulations, we have been forced to change our model in a way any business will adapt to a changing marketplace. These days we are very much a brand. Our presence is felt online and on social media. But it remains the fact that in any local marketplace, the name of your local newspaper title is one that is well known in the community And this year we have reached something very interesting, the digital tipping point, where we sell just as much advertising online as we do in our titles. Our total audience for the Lancaster Guardian(counting newspaper readers and online visitors) now exceeds 550,000 per month. Newsrooms are very different places these days. When I started as a trainee reporter on a free weekly title around 16 years ago, there was no e-mail - reporters operated very much from a phone, a contact book and the ye olde tradition of talking to people. Reporters wrote a story or filed it over the phone, where it would be assessed by a newsdesk, assigned a place in paper then sent off to first the design sub-editors then the copy subbing desk. These days life is very different, with much smaller teams and limited access to subs or photographers, instead, armed with state of the art technology, the reporters write the story, the tweet, the Facebook status - they take the photo, they film the video. Staff these days must be multi-skilled andtalented. Some equate this to a decline in standards - and we could always do with more people - but in reality it just makes business sense and ultimately the Lancaster Guardian is a business. A business that is not just battling in and for the local community, but one that pays for premises, employs local people and faces the same overheads and financial challenges as any other. But as an editorial team, based locally, we care about the Lancaster area and will always fight its battles through our pages, in paper and online, as we have been doing since 1837. We are going nowhere.