Follow The Corby Leader

Local media is as important today as it ever was. I remember quite distinctly the banner of The Corby Leader newspaper as my dad would read it in his armchair: pipe-smoke billowing over the top as he digested the latest news from just around the proverbial corner. It never occurred to me that Kettering, Wellingborough or Market Harborough might have their own equivalent. The ‘Leader’ gave one a micro managed and well reported view of ones world in all its parochial splendour. It would become a talking point if one was to recognise this or that person from one of the many black and white photographs that would give someone their fifteen minutes of fame long before Warhol coined the phrase. My dad was once featured in The Corby Leader as an example of how a ‘crippled’ man (my dad had lost a leg in the 40’s) could still decorate his home given the benefit of the latest innovations in the development of prosthetic technology. The expansion and re-development of just about everything began to bring one community closer to others, not least of which was the impact that our ever evolving transport infrastructure would have in bringing Corby and Kettering much closer together via long stretches of straight uninterrupted lengths of smooth road. Gone were the windy-bendy ‘main’ routes that seemed to take forever to travel, especially by bus, from one town to the other. Almost overnight our view of ‘local’ became somewhat expanded as it became easier to identify that we had more in common with nearby townsfolk than otherwise appreciated. At the same time, providing a daily newspaper to serve these ever growing communities was, and without doubt still is, an immediate, intensive and expensive process, which is heavily subsidised by advertising or sponsorship without whose revenue we would not have any news in the written form at all.The Corby Leader had had its day and it was ‘hello’, to cut a very long story short, to a new daily newspaper, the one you’re reading now, The Evening Telegraph. Today there are very few local media businesses that are truly owned and operated as independent entities. Most have been absorbed into conglomerates whose idea of ‘local’ delivery is based purely on the clone principal. Radio, television and newspaper production and provision has become dictated by the ever increasing competitive struggle for the same advertising revenue, a stream that is drying up on a daily basis as advertisers tend to put promotion on a ‘back-burner’ for more prosperous times. Edinburgh-based Johnston Press, who own The Evening Telegraph, along with some 300 other local titles, has had to bite the bullet and recently announced a revamp of many titles and plans to improve its online service. Like the loss of The Corby Leader, the immediate financial times dictates the future direction of any business if it’s to survive in any form, but why would they even bother if local media wasn’t as important today as it ever was?

My article made it into the new weekly format Telegraph published on Thursday 31st May 2012. I wonder what my Dad would have made of that little gem?

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