Local papers community’s voice

2019-01-16 06:02

Where would you read about the former Bethlehemites whose twins were born while underway in their bakkie?

About a blind mother from Welkom and her son with a mental disability, living in poverty, for whom relief is now a reality?

About KANSA stalwart Brunie Botha who has died in Kimberley? About 40 000 donated blankets that are being collected in the Diamond City?

About the sungazer (Smaug giganteus) that can only be found in the northern parts of the Eastern Free State?

About an elated Michael Mamaedi (37) of Bohlokong, Bethlehem, having obtained a learner driving licence?

Reach for one of Volksblad’s Central Local Newspapers (SPK Group). Their tabloid-frame is compact, but they are heavyweights in stature.

In the exciting “time of disruption” – business jargon – the news industry is experiencing due to the digital revolution – with Digital First as the keyword for news – local weekly newspapers in your postbox at home or at central hot spots are becoming increasingly important.

Gert Coetzee, editor of Volksblad, says:

  • news that has the community at heart;
  • the watchdog role;
  • human interest; and
  • local issues

contribute to the importance of local newspapers.

Prof. Johannes Froneman of the North-West University highlighted in a newspaper column the importance of local newspapers.

There is a reservation: good journalistic quality. Quality local newspapers (with a cover price, or free) give a voice to their communities which daily titles and other media cannot.

According to Froneman, local news has always been the staple of local newspapers – now more than ever. This is potentially to the advantage of local newspapers. Free newspapers are delivered to every household and, in this way, the advertiser reaches many more people. These newspapers are therefore more popular with advertisers.

Froneman also points out that the ritual of reading the paper remains a daily pleasure for thousands and adds value to their life. It turns them into more informed (and interesting!) individuals. Daily titles therefore still have a unique place – even if it is for fewer people than what was previously the case. But next to daily titles, quality local newspapers have an equally important role to play – even bigger than before.

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