Saturday, 21 April 2012

RIP The Clevedon Mercury

This week marked the sad passing of The Clevedon Mercury. Founded in 1863, this local newspaper which serves the town where I've lived for the last 20 years was one year short of its 150th anniversary when its life was cut short, a victim of the current perilous state of local newspapers. (The Mercury was one of many Northcliffe papers that are suffering down-sizing, as are Thomson and Johnson and other groups papers, as the loss of their three big advertising bases, cars, houses and jobs, to online continues to bite).

The Mercury's wikipedia page is currently a pathetic stub, which I'd love to see someone improve, and its online presence brings new meaning to the word perfunctory. Does this look like a newspaper covering a fascinating small Somerset town? We're the home of the Curzon cinema (which has an open day today, by the way).

Quite how Clevedonians will now spread news and celebrate local events I don't know. If anyone can tell me how the Mercury is being replaced online, I'd love to know. And lest this sound too parochial, I am fully aware that this situation is being repeated across the country, and indeed across every country in the world that has a tradition of local newspapers. As someone who's taken the greatest pleasure in appearing in his local press - you may, with my blessings, check out this girning photo, and this sweet tribute, and this vaguely accurate footnote - I sincerely hope this won't lead to a lack of communication between people based on their proximity to each other. That, I would think, cannot go well.

Nailsea people article on the death of the Clevedon Mercury with contact details
Bristol's Venue magazine saved from closure
Captain Clevedon radio promo & press cutting

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