As most people are aware traditional newspapers are in somewhat of a crisis. They are losing readers to online content hand over fist and are at something of a loss as to how to combat this.
Nevertheless most newspapers have something of an editorial bias and their fortunes are a good indicator of the mood and opinions of the wider public. I’ve always kept an eye, like the Skibbereen Eagle, on the circulation figures.
In 2009 Horseman wrote this on the subject. The landscape has changed somewhat since but broadly, the Irish News reflects an Irish Nationalist viewpoint while the Newsletter is Unionist in outlook. The Belfast Telegraph aspires but fails to be in the centre ground. I would call it a “Letsgetalongerist” publication.
Here’s an interesting Graph from last year by Alan in Belfast:
Today the latest figures were released.
From Roy Greenslade, professor of journalism no less, of the Guardian:
“In the north, the Belfast Telegraph was the big faller. The Independent News & Media title slipped below the 50,000 mark for the first time, recording a daily average of 49,228, which was 8.6% fewer than the year before.
But the Telegraph sold only 40,000 at its full cover price. More than 8,500 copies were given away for free at pick-up points.
The Irish News did much better, restricting its loss to 3%. With a paid-for sale of 40,842 it can now lay claim to be the largest-selling daily title produced in Northern Ireland - a significant moment in the paper’s history.
The third-placed Ulster News Letter, which lost 6.5% of its circulation in the course of the year, sold 20,755 copies a day.”
Alans forecast has been exceeded by at least a year. I am aware that the figures are skewed by the increased use of online media but, given the considerably older and consequently less media savvy demographic of Unionists and the omission of the likes of the Andersonstown News, the figures are interesting to say the least.
If the Papers are anything to go by perhaps Unionism needs a new PR team