‘Talk of the demise of the local press is unjustified’.
So said Tindle Newspapers’ inspirational owner Sir Ray Tindle earlier this week.
The industry’s most positive boss was the key-note speaker at Press Gazette’s Local Heroes 2010 event.
He criticised the ‘damaging and dangerous rhetoric’ proclaiming the demise of local newspapers.
Speaking to the conference in London, Sir Ray said: “Let’s go back to more normal years before the boom. Our profits for the two years of this dreadful recession are as near as dammit the same as those of the normal pre-boom times of a decade ago.
“We were happy then and we are not unhappy now with both sets of figures.”
He added that only 60 newspapers had closed in recent months, saying: “You have all read and heard these merchants of doom. It is common now to hear that the Press has had its day – paid-for newspapers are finished, and so on. But they are all wrong; the true picture is quite different.”
Sir Ray, who launched a number of hyper-local newspapers at the height of the recession, added: “Is this a collapse of local newspapers? No, it is not. Will half the press – over 600 newspapers – be dead in three more years? Of course not.
“I’ve been hearing all that nonsense about the dire state we’re in for 63 years. I heard about the impending death of local weeklies in the Sixties when Lord Thomson launched all his local evenings and when Woodrow Wyatt brought out all his full colour, offset papers.
“I heard all about our demise again when local commercial radio arrived in the Seventies and I certainly heard it very strongly when free newspapers swept the country in the Eighties. Each time we were on our way to the knacker’s yard.”
He did, however, take the time to criticise debt ridden groups such as Johnston Press and Trinity Mirror, saying: “We don’t run our titles directly from a head office.
“Each is run locally by local management and a magnificent staff.
“We find this is possible, in most cases, and so far we have come through this recession, which has seen 5,000 newspapermen made redundant, without losing a single title and without making a single journalist redundant and yet remaining completely viable throughout as a group.”
Source: Press Gazette
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