Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enquiring no more

Sadly, news reaches Newsquestwatch that the North West Enquirer has gone pop.

A pity - and not just for the people who worked there.

The Enquirer was always full of informative, well researched pieces, especially on politics and business - two of the things the 'mainstream' local press is abandoning in its descent into trivia.

The in depth stuff from BBC north west political editor, Jim Hancock, was top class and I enjoyed some of its profiles on regional business types as well.

Unfortunately what it didn't have enough of was 'essential' news - the stuff that makes you sit up and wonder what the implications are for your own community. That's probably why I gave up on buying it and tended to use the excellent website instead.

Perhaps one of its mistake was recruiting too many staff with a background in daily newspapers? Another problem was that today's ABs tend to be 'cash rich/traffic poor' and, while I'm sure plenty flirted with the Enquirer, stopping off every Thursday to buy a copy isn't practical for everyone. Perhaps that website should have been promoted more in its own right - perhaps it even has a future as a stand-alone?

Most of all I'm not convinced that the north west's regional identity is as strong as some would have us believe?

So what are the implications for the rest of the local press? There aren't many, the Enquirer was trying to reinvent the wheel and do something different for England. The local monopolies will continue to grind money out of their local communities and there will still be plenty of room for smaller, slicker, more reactive rivals to emerge.

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