As 2011 limps to a close, many newspapers face that ‘c’ word (close) in the next few years.
Circulations of the print product are going down everywhere in the West. Optimists who point excitedly to rising newspaper circulations in India or China are deliberately overlooking cultural and market differences. How has the Irish media coped with 2012?
There were the great gifts of not one election but two: all the fun of the fair at the presidential poll, and earlier the rather more serious, but foregone conclusion, of the general election.
Queen Elizabeth graciously descended in May, to be met equally graciously by Mary McAleese.
Then it was President Obama’s turn to give Ireland a chance of a moment in the world spotlight – though the fleeting nature of his visit, Moneygall, College Green, and goodbye, left the taste of burnt rubber in the mouth.
Ongoing stories were the space- and attention-grabbers. Recession horrors, ineffectual European Union action, and vague dabs by the new Irish government (JobBridge, for example) were constant themes, if not always given illuminating reporting.
The sad story of clerical child abuse, and the mishandling of complaints, continued – and continues. Patsy McGarry’s story in The Irish Times about complaints against Archbishop John Charles McQuaid were a fitting if appalling coda to the whole saga.McGarry story December 8
The Sunday Tribune closed in February, on the heels of the rather less lamented Sunday Star. This left the serious Sunday market to the Business Post, although its circulation still languishes around 50,000. However, the Post has at least shown a smaller decrease in its sales than the Irish average – it went down by about 3 per cent in the first half of 2011, about half the average decline for print titles across the country. (ABC figures)
The journalistic workforce is shrinking – even on the large employers, such as the nationals . The Irish Independent outsourced most of its subbing several years ago, with little reported complaint (or even notice) from readers, and The Irish Times, which has already slashed, combined and downgraded its subbing desks, is said to be looking to cut subs’ numbers by another half-dozen. Read more…