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Local Newspapers

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Every town, city or village in the UK will have at least one local newspaper, and maybe more. In theory, they provide a useful forum for local news and events, inexpensive advertising for local businesses, and publicity for local groups and organisations.

However, theory and reality are often not as closely related as newspaper manufacturers would have us believe. Market research has clearly shown that the readership of the majority of local newspapers is made up of the older generation, and that these newspapers tailor their output to match. Articles on youth are restricted to those outlining the horrors of young people today (with splashes about joy-riding, drug abuse and violence) and if you're involved in the Arts, whatever your age, abandon all hope of your event ever appearing in print. On the other hand, they are quite prepared to give a double-page spread to a couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.

In the classified section, you will find hundreds of mis-spelled small ads. Even if those who wrote the original poster of the ad knew how to spell, those at the paper who transcibe it, do not; often with predictable results. Sometimes the ads are even put in the wrong section, so a lonely heart is sandwiched between two second-hand boilers.

If local press photographers have agreed to meet you somewhere for a specified photo-shoot, you can expect them to give you a rough time. An hour later than you had arranged, when you've decided that they're not going to turn up at all, and have sent everyone else home, they will arrive with rosy cheeks and take three photgraphs. These, of course, will not appear in the paper and neither will the accompanying article, in order to make room for 'The Town Fifty Years Ago' in pictures.

In any case, there is a law1 in the UK prohibiting local newspapers from printing the correct names underneath pictures.

1Okay, there isn't actually a law. It's more of a tradition.

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