We interviewed Martyn Edgley, 59, who worked in the news printing business for 29 years and asked him what his views were on the decline of the newspaper industry.
- When did the newspaper industry first start to depreciate?
The first onset of newspaper decline started with the introduction of television which became a source of daily news in the 1950’s. The explosion of the internet in the 1990’s increased the range of media choices and traditional advertisers migrated to the new media. News also became easier to access with the introduction of personal devices with up to date news streams from several news channels.
2. Did you ever think that the industry would shrink this dramatically?
With the onset of the internet, the writing was on the wall for newspapers. Traditional places for local and national advertisers to project their message broadened with larger audiences being reached.
Although television took some of the news market local newspapers thrived through the 80’s, with situation vacant advertising, public notices, property sales and run of paper advertising staying with the local media. With the introduction of the internet the traditional advertisers could reach a larger readership.
3. What do you think the future holds for newspapers?
I still believe there is a market for newspapers in the short term. There is still a generation of people who prefer to obtain their news from both local and national newspapers, however, I believe the next generation will prefer the up to date information obtained over smart phones and other personal devices.
4. How has the industry changed since the start of your career?
When I first started in newspapers, the industry was going through a major transformation, from hot metal to new technologies with the introduction of rotary lithography. This new technology increased speed of production.
With the introduction of computers, initially for typesetting and page makeup, hot metal setting very quickly phased out.
More recently the decline has seen a reduction in circulation, traditional local daily papers moving to print once a week.
5. What is the newspaper industry doing currently?
The industry is now diversifying into new media. They are trying to combine the brands they own such as their local titles which have a readership and use those portals to create new revenue streams alongside the traditional print. The trick will be to maintain those brands!
6. What is it like to work in the print industry under these current circumstances?
Extremely challenging! With any declining industry, there is the constant threat of downsizing and the inevitable redundancies that follow.
I have seen a major reduction in the amount of newspaper printing sites over the last decade, technology has reduced the amount of people required to run presses and consequential reduction in staff.