Expert Comment: Closure of the Daily PostWednesday 25 April 2012
Liverpool Hope University journalism and communication lecturer Paddy Hoey was the Daily Post’s pop and rock music reviewer for four years and worked as a reporter, sub editor and designer on the paper. Here, he gives his thoughts on the newspaper's closure.
The Liverpool Daily Post is no more and Merseyside is the all the worse for it.
But this paper, with roots back to the Liverpool Mercury - one of the first dailies printed outside London – is the latest victim of the perfect storm that hit newspapers more than a decade ago.
Look back more than two decades ago the world looked rosy for the Post and Trinity Mirror, the company that owns it.
Trinity, which grew from a small base in the North West to become the biggest publisher of regional newspapers in Britain, expanded and bought weekly and daily papers as advertising revenues boomed.
And then came the internet and recessions. The internet took readers and created the belief that all information could be free. Why buy a paper product when you could get news for free online or on your smart phone?
Classified advertising went to eBay, death notices could be posted on Facebook and car dealerships took their ads to their own websites. Employment advertising also went online as more homes got home internet connections.
The news bit of newspapers was always a loss leader. Newsgathering is an expensive business. You have to pay highly trained people, own expensive presses and buy newsprint, the paper news is printed on. You also have to pay van drivers and their fuel costs, all before it lands, in neat bundles, on a street outside a shop in the early hours of every morning.
The digital world is much more immediate and hugely less labour and material intensive.
Advertising subsidized lower cover prices and with those revenues slashed, many papers have closed, are on a prolonged death watch, or face an uncertain future.
Digital disciples point to the internet, blogs and social media as the future, but I don't see many bloggers in Liverpool doing serious council stories regularly. Well I do, but they are the bloggers employed by the Post.
What happens to local democracy and the check and balance on power the Post provided? As staffing has been slashed in newsrooms in recent years, a press officer at a local council is said to have remarked that it’s been a good time to hide bad news.
The Daily Post is going weekly but we’ll still mourn the passing of an old friend, one that we perhaps didn’t value enough while it was there.