Time was when most people couldn’t read or write, local news was the province of town criers, from around 1800 literacy gradually increased and so did the number of local papers. There was a slow progression of the production of the paper being financed by selling the paper towards the advertising in the paper financing the paper. Around 1970 free local papers funded entirely by advertising began to appear, I think Ascene was the first one in Thanet. From around that time the news on local radio stations and free local papers began to impinge on the sales of local papers.
I was involved to a small extent with a local radio station in Canterbury in the late 60s UKCR, which started out transmitting through the central heating piping before obtaining a broadcasting licence.
There was also the business of posting up news on a notice board and here in Ramsgate the outbreak of WW1 unfolded via a series of telegraph messages and posted notices.
Here are some excerpts from Cockburn’ Diary, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id73.htm :-
“After breakfast the next morning I went up to Mr C. J. Fox’s (the chemist in Addington Street) where news of any important events has been posted up ever since the commencement of the Boer War in 1899. There I found that Germany had declared war on Russia at 7.30 the previous evening.
After church we all went to Addington Street and found that the cabinet was to meet again at 3.30 but no hint of the decision was given.
Between 4 and 5 pm I went again to Fox’s. Still no news from the government. But it was reported that the Germans had entered Luxembourg. This was a further complication, although not unforeseen, as we were bound by the treaty to preserve the neutrality of Luxembourg and Belgium. The general opinion now appears to be that it was impossible for us to keep out of it.
After evensong tonight I noticed a crowd round Clark’s Newspaper in High Street, and on investigating I found that a telegram was posted up there announcing that 25,000 Germans had been repulsed with heavy losses.
I paid one or two further visits to Addington Street , but there was still no news from our government and we all went to bed in a state of greater suspense and anxiety than ever.”
“The station was open, but all the Inspector could tell me was that “as far as he knew” the trains would run as usual tomorrow. Returning to Addington Street we waited about in case further news should come through. All we heard however was that Bank Holiday would be extended until Thursday, and that the British Mediterranean fleet was reported to have cleared for action.
Directly after tea I went again to Fox’s and found a notice to the effect that the Cabinet were unable to make up their minds what to do and the question was to be debated in the House of Commons tonight. It also stated that Mr John Burns and Sir John Simon had left the Cabinet. This, is as afterwards proved, was not a fair resume of what had taken place. But it served to dishearten some of us very much, as it appeared that the Government was hesitating when the honour of the country was at stake.
The next message half an hour or so later, was to the effect that “ war would be declared on Germany tonight or tomorrow morning,” “Mr Balfour and Mr Bonar Law have joined the Cabinet.” This was altered by the substitution of Lord Lansdowne’s name for that of Mr Balfour, but the whole message subsequently proved to be incorrect.”
Of course now this would all have developed on social media, or at least the radio.
The advent of social media and internet news sites seems to banking nails into the coffins of local papers.
Incidentally while on the subject of coffins, the answer to yesterday’s difficult photo location is Margate Cemetery.
This leaves the big problem of how do local paper journalists get paid if people stop buying newspapers? The answer here is of course advertising revenue.
The two main local newspaper websites are http://www.kentlive.news/thanet and http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/ I just tried viewing these without running Adblocker which reduces the advertising and unexpected popups and redirections to a manageable level, I suppose the situation has been worse, but it does look like desperation.
So now a new news website for Thanet, Kathy Bailes, sometime editor of The Isle of Thanet Gazette, has started “The Isle of Thanet News” here is the link http://www.theisleofthanetnews.com/ and I have put live links which update every time a news item is posted on this blog and my bookshop blog. I can’t put up live links to the local paper websites as their websites haven’t developed to the stage where they have Thanet news feeds i.e. a wosisname Java thingamajig wot goes beep wen news appens. We still have a long way to go with ITC in this country.
Anyway Kathy has given up her job at paper and is now going it alone and making a very good job of it. Here is what the Rag Rag has to say http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2017/news/editor-quits-regional-publisher-to-found-own-hyperlocal-news-website/
My own feelings are that it will be administering the comment that will be the most difficult part of all this, there is a dedicated facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theisleofthanetnews/ which I recommend readers here lik if they want an extra way of keeping abreast local news.
Here are the WW1 pictures