Last week the MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, reported that people were ringing his office for news reports after the local newspaper stopped printing. The growth of the internet along with 24 hour news channels has ended the dominance of the newspaper industry, with several tabloids and broadsheets scrambling around for unique stories to justify their increasing price. Local newspapers were delivered free to almost every household until a decline in print advertising forced the closure of the Harlow Star along with many others.
The untimely demise of any local newspaper impacts all residents. Even those who use the internet are unlikely to regularly browse local events. They become unaware of things that are happening in their community. This will have a significant impact during elections when the local newspaper is often the only source of information about local candidates. Some people will ask their MP. Others won’t know what they are missing but, in Harlow, there is hope.
The Harlow Star will be replaced by a new paper costing 70 pence. It might be the start of a new era for local news if residents, unlike advertisers, are willing to pay.