Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Thanet Times Screened out

Not the most dramatic, shocking or even surprising event, Thanet Times last edition, which has sort of just petered out, with a brief fizzle of nostalgia at the very end, one can only imagine the  professionalism required to bash out the last edition of a newspaper that had existed for well over a hundred years. Migration of readers from paper to electronic screens has resulted in papers like Thanet Times no longer being viable.

A maudlin event for the local community, a loss, where else, are we to learn of events mid week, with respect to Thanet extra, and the "virtual" newspaper yourthanet they ain't likely to fill the void, assuming that they don't also disappear.

I presume a significant number of those of us for whom such things matter, will have learnt of the papers end via the electronic media, to be honest I cannot recall precisely, where and when I read the comment posted on Thanet online mentioning the demise, still lets no go to far, this event is hardly in the "where were you when JFK died ?" league and yes I am old enough to answer that and I dare say some readers wont have a clue. 

Currently having a few days off, still Monday evening wandering round Leicester Square, Covent Garden between having a pub meal and seeing Paul Merton at a nearby theatre, I was pondering on how many of the population are now addicted to their digital devices phones, laptops and tablets, an extreme had to be the Muppet stumbling around in the dark around Covent Garden, with a flipping iPad in front of his face using some augmented reality app. 

Throughout Monday I noticed how people on the trains, buses and in the street were connected either texting or partaking of social media etc.  We're probably all more clued up than was once the case, we suck up news from all over, and yet ironically the news media are suffering, how can this be.

Newspapers (printed) have always earned much of their money from advertising revenue, advertisers paying on the basis of the quality of reader, popularity and position, so what's gone wrong? or more importantly how can profits be boosted for the ailing news industry, questions that need to be answered if we are to see reliable news locally. Clearly publishers need to do a lot more to "monetize" websites, and perhaps us consumers ought to accept that some way news is a product, produced by journalists who need feeding.

I've recently subscribed to the Times/ST website for a variety of reasons, one since I frequently work Sundays, I hate getting home to find a couple of pounds of newspaper requiring attention, I can read the paper on the phone, my favorite bits during a break or the trip home, and the bits I'd glance at, on the laptop later in the week, the big benefit is it's cheaper, the other is as a hoarder I don't get challenged by Mrs Me demanding "can I throw these out" referring to a mountain of supplements. I still buy papers notably the "i" during the week @ 20p this has to be the bargain of all time, a concise newspaper with no tits and bums or moronic waffle concerning air head bimbos or airhead celebs, just news.

Anyway I've waffled on a bit here, but like most, will miss the Thanet Times for it's uniqueness, clearly different from its counter part, the Gazette a bit more direct and popularist (not a word according to the spell checker) anyhow we need professionals and lets hope that this is the last cut to local news, since once your local paper has gone it's gone. Nothing will replace professionals who have the skills and time to develop a story so why not support them by buying a copy of your newspaper, and when visiting a newspaper website, click on the adverts.

Sorry to see the Times go, a professional quality local newspaper a bit better than your typical blog such as Bignews Margate or Thanet Life, still it's a ill wind that blows nobody any good and I see that Cllr Simon Moores has this to say "I've rescued the top-level domain, and after a short period of virtual mourning for the title, that first started in 1896, The Thanet Times will be resurrected here with perhaps a new look to match." I can't wait, I just wonder how Northcliffe Media who presumably still own the copyright to the title, will view Simon cobbling together a Thanet Times resurrected, dotcom or not.

Anyhoo as you stare into your device, laptop, tablet or phone, at home, traveling to work, don't forget there really are no free lunches and as papers close publishers will dump journalists and eventually you'll end up with just a ragbag of opinionated middle age gits like me who's qualifications include a I think English CSE grade Z ( not entirely sure but it was very poor). You get what you pay for in this life and you'll be more than aware that this cost you nothing.


  1. When the Kent Messenger wanted to merge with the Thanet Times I believe you were strongly opposed - if the monopolies & mergers board had approved it some of those Times journalists now out of work would still be employed. be careful what you wish for !
    "popularist (not a word according to the spell checker)" - that'll be because the word is populist :-)

  2. Cheers 12 51 well firstly I don't think for one minute that Kent Messenger group would have taken any prisoners, and as the typical anonymous contributor you have as much credibility as I, at this point. I don't see any reference to job cuts but maybe that is next, obviously you may know better.

    Secondly as to the spelling you have a point, still at some time out was decided that spelling would be formalised however you understood what I meant and clearly had some satisfaction in correcting my no harm done there.

  3. The Times / Gazette are less than happy about Simon Moores using the name, expect to read something in this friday's edition!

  4. I never take the local papers so I added to the demise I dont buy many midweek papers I do like to listen to the news on TV or radio and as you say Online. I did try the "i" for a couple of weeks but dislike the style. I wont miss the local and I doubt many will as I never saw the need for two local editions. I never saw the spelling mistake so if you havent changed it I must have understood your meaning, You like me got English CSE grade Z lol I have managed to blag my way through life with a dictionary and even now at almost sixty I had to use it today to look up what a word meant, I must stop reading things with big words in them,

  5. News isn't a product... it can't be as it is readily available! As I wrote on Michael's blog papers have never sold news, they think they do but they actually sell access to readers to advertising companies (as you stated initially). If newpaper editors and owners don't offer what readers want then they'll go elsewhere. The newspaper industry is in decline and has been since the internet began and like I said on Michael's blog why should we care, we shouldn't be expected ro prop up businesses that have had their day, we didn't do it for the cart manufacturers when the car became mainstream or telephone switchboard operators when the process was automated!

    1. Yet people are trying to save High Streets when the majority want out of town shopping centres...

    2. Here is why you should care Rob, newspapers offer public scrutiny that the public would find difficult to to access, as an example I recently read on KCC's website that they have an entrepreneurial director of their legal department apparently they employ dozens of lawyers, so out of curiosity I wrote to the council's press office, of course I got the standard response that is they ignored the request for info such as how this benefits the community out what sort of return the tax paid sees on its investment.

      That may be a short of weird inquiry, granted, but a journalist would have time to pursue.

      Anyway the thing is the gazette and Times have over the years put out things in the public domain that would otherwise have remained hidden, such as the current scandal of the councils victimisation of l
      ow paid workers as they are seeking to do while Thanet Labour party do nothing and say nothing to protect the most vulnerable

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. 16 38 Having just read your comment, has caused me to suspend any further comments, well done.

      As a response to this and earlier comments of a similar nature, I shall cease to accept comments other than sent by email.

      So goodbye to the open free moving debate on this blog. Game over.

  6. @ Anonymous 25:52 SOME people are trying to save High Streets... as the majority don't care enough or find the alternative convenient High Streets will continue to decline, to be honest though it won't be much longer, say 20-30 years before the out of town super centres close as well... once the 40 year olds get to be 70 the "shopping experience" will primarily be done behind a big screen and things will be shipped from massive storage facilities staffed by minimum wage paid employees. It's inevitable. Sorry and all.

    @Tony, newspapers have agendas, they have bias and unless you are on the same wave length you find them very unfulfilling, the writing that is currently described as "investigative journalism" tends to be stuff that has been in the public for days before being picked up by some hack. With the arrival of social media and blogs chances are you'll find out more through them than on the first 5 pages of any printed rubbish available for 50p at W H Smiths.

    If newspapers and their respective staff actually did a good job people would buy them and they wouldn't fold. The fact that the Times hasn't been particularly good at its job in the last 5 years or more is testament to its collapse and closure.

  7. "newspapers have agendas, they have bias and unless you are on the same wave length you find them very unfulfilling"

    And bloggers don't have agendas? I look at blogs but, let's be honest, bloggers are just the green ink brigade in a groovy, hi-tech guise.

  8. They do, but they don't charge me 60p for the priviledge of reading their bias. If I want a counter to one bias I can go read a blog with the oposing view... again not being charged 60p!

    I'd happily pay for good journalism but unfortunately there is very little and not worth the price. Sorry that people are being made redundant probably but thats life I'm afraid. If they are any good they'll get another job.

  9. OK, but accept that without the local media our local politicians have a free pass to do whatever they like. That is the world we are entering. The demise of the local press is filling a hole that bloggers will never be able to satisfactorily fill.

  10. I won't accept that at all, either locally or nationally. Can't remember seeing any serious investigative journalism in the local papers for quite some significant time... it isn't up to the newpaper industry to hold our politicians to account and anyone who thinks they should doesn't hold the democratic process as close to their heart as I do.

    It is because people have stopped engaging on a pesonal level with the people elected to act appropriately on their behalf that we face many of the issues we do today.

    If you aren't happy with the system rather than waiting for some hack to write an editorial start engaging with the system and get your friends to do the same!

    1. “Capital must protect itself in every possible way, both by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When through the process of law the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers. These truths are well known among our principal men who are now engaged in forming an imperialism to govern the world. By dividing the voter through the political party system we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished." - 1924 US Banker’s Association Magazine

    2. Excuse me... is this your tin foil hat?

  11. The "What do they know" public FOI site is researching ways to improve its activity.

    The Gazette ended up trailing behind the FOI applications which exposed the huge contamination of Thanet's water supply since 1963.

    Having reported on my FOI results did the Gazette pursue TDC and seek to interview cllrs who had known about the contamination and kept quiet ? NO

    Did the Gazette get on to Public Health trying to raise a epidemiologiocal study of water contamination health effects in Thanet (which has a very high level of ectopic pregnancy and polycystic ovary) ? NO

    Did Gazette get on to Environment Agency and Health and Safety Exec to seek inquiry into areas around direct water abstraction in Thanet ? Such as laundries and the health patterns of their workforce and neighbours ? NO

    So the reality is that papers like the Gazette favour their advertisers (like TDC) over the public interest of their readership. And free sites like "what do they know" represent the public interest, and right to information, far better.

  12. I emailed Rebecca (Gazette) a link to a current FOI application. Why not publish at least the history and the public interest argument involved ?

    Current FOI application

    Most youngsters now relate to the idea of "Democratic". And are educated (indoctrinated) to the idea that their rights and freedoms are invested in and protected by "Democracy".

    What is the Coronation ?

    It is an unique wedding ceremony of the monarch to the people.

    At that ceremony the monarch takes oaths which are binding on police and judiciary. The oath becoming sole fount of justice in mercy.

    The people and the monarchy wedded form a body of authority independent of government called "The Crown"

    Judges, coroners and police are (supposed to be) independent ministerial officers of the Crown (IE our servants not state employees)

    Armed force is (or was until recently) a monopoly of the Crown. IE The bearing of arms is or was restricted to those Crown authorized on behalf of the people. Our Navy Our Army Our RAF Our Police

    There were two laws dealing with this area.

    The Unlawful Drilling Act 1819.

    The Public Order Act 1936

    The first act made it an offence to engage in military style activity without CROWN authority.

    The second act (brought in to deal with Mosley's blackshirts) makes it an offence to engage in quasi military activity.

    Jack Straw repealed the Unlawful Drilling Act. At a stroke paving the way for private armies and leaving the matter of legality of private military activity to a secret decision of government law officers.

    Removing the power of the Crown (the power of the people) at a stroke.

    reversing the arrangements made for restitution of monarchy after English civil war.

    This FOI application is about the arrest of North Thanet tory vice chair for Unlawful Drilling (paramilitary activity) in 1987.

    Who took the decision not to prosecute ? Tory law officer in secret or CPS ?

    Did Roger Gale MP then support the application made by his fellow Thanet tory for re-issue of a firearms cert ?

    was the firearms cert for 303 762 and 9mm semi auto with powder licence and unlimited ammo holding ? No I am not kidding.

    So this small Thanet case has implications in huge constitutional changes that were slipped into the agenda by Labour's Jack straw. Notably unopposed by Tory or Liberal ... as power passed from the Crown (subject of open Court) to govt (with secret power to deny access to Court for determination)

    A local paper employs skilled journalists who have a far greater ability than me, to describe the history (Bill and petition of Rights etc) and to set out the arguments.

    But the fact is the local paper has always been wary about rocking the parochial Thanet tory boat.

    In TV culture imagine if Judge John Deede was presiding over a case against Bodey and Doyle of the Professionals.

    "Does this CI5 have Crown authority to bear arms"

    "Does this CI5 have Crown Authority to direct police operations ?"

    Yesterday's entertainment tomorrow's reality.

    Imagine Jack Straw's chum's Tim Spicer's Aegis deploying armed in support (or control of) the police civil power.

    Can't happen here ? A privatized govt gestapo?

    Crown v Parliament. When the Queen told Paul Burrell there are forces at work in this Realm ... think on.