A ring on the doorbell today took me back to my early days as a reporter. A pleasant young man from the East Anglian Daily Times arrived to tell me that the paper was doing a editorial supported circulation drive in the area.
He said that they had done research earlier this year and had found — would you believe it! — that people felt there was not enough local news in the paper. So they were going to base a reporter in the area and would I buy a ten-week reduced rate subscription at £1.75 a week?
I was immediately taken back to my days on the Western Daily Press when under editor Eric Price it was building circulation. It went from around 11,000 to nearly 75,000 in a few years. With that experience in mind, I suggested that the EADT would need to maintain the better local coverage if they hoped to keep an circulation gains.
They certain need gains with the figures down from 44,755 (ABC) in 1999 to 30,332 in the first half of this year. On a rough calculation they have lost a third of sales in a little over 10 years.
I just hope there has been a change of heart at Archant, owners of the EADT, who I recorded cut a further 20 jobs from the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister paper, the Evening Star, in January last year.
Ever the optimist, I signed up for the reduced rate subscription.