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Top media figure claims regional newspapers are ‘dull’ and ‘boring’

By Hamish Mackay |

February 1, 2012 | 2 min read

One of the UK’s leading regional media figures, Peter Sands, has claimed that much of the print content of regional newspapers is “dull” and “boring.”

Sands, a former editor of the Northern Echo regional daily, who is a now a newspaper consultant and a non-executive director of Northcliffe Media, declared that some regional newsrooms resemble “treadmills” where “filling the paper” has become the raison d’être.

In an article in the B2B magazine, InPublishing, Sands points out that reporters are wasting too much time composing flights of nibs and re-writing material already available online.

He said newspapers should instead be focusing on quality content, as well as doing more to harness material generated by readers and local experts.

InPublishing quotes him as saying: “With newsrooms pared back, it has become harder to provide genuinely interesting and fresh content. I visit regionals where the newsroom is on a treadmill, where the raison d’être has indeed become ‘filling the paper’.

“There is often far too much mortar, boring stories of little interest, running through the editorial bricks.

“I was astonished at one daily title where the reporters spent two hours a day putting together legs of shorts – ‘volunteers wanted,’ ‘coffee morning boost,’ ‘choir practice.’ People going to the choir practice already know it’s on, and the people who aren’t don’t give a monkey’s.”

“There is regularly a design issue too. Dull copy is often presented in a dull way. Good content needs to be accompanied by good design,” he added.

“If regional papers offer dull filler material, they will continue to alienate readers and the downward spiral will go on.”

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