Local newspapers have a death wish

On British local newspapers, traditionally that time-honoured apprenticeship of newsgathering, ill-fitted Fleet Street tricks are being aped. You can see this for yourself in headline language used to “big up” a story.

“Council boss hits out over bins horror”, “Attendance at village fete plunges”, “Pensioner anguish over dead squirrel”, “Government cuts threaten charity panto”; you know what I mean. Sad to observe that penning this guff are enthusiastically untalented 22-year-olds with today’s expectations of fame on a plate who think that by writing this way, that one day they will become a Piers Morgan, heavens forfend. All the while the real stuff of local journalism – petty crime, petty corruption, petty celebration, escapes their notice or is reduced to a column of shorts, because that stuff takes leg work and the local weekly has a staff of just two or three.

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