Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Morning (Ipswich) Star circulation down by 10.7%

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The Morning Ipswich Star’s publisher Archant put out their circulation figures at the end of last month which they say showed a small increase in circulation. Unfortunately for them they have been busted as the figures are not what they seem. Archant included what are called in the trade ‘bulks’ – i.e. stacks of free newspapers left in fast food outlets, hotels, even UCS in Ipswich. These should not be included in circulation figures as circulation is a test of reader popularity not how many papers they can dump in a public place. 

If you take out the ‘bulks’, the Morning Ipswich Star’s circulation has in fact dropped a whopping 10.7%. July-December 2011, was 12,526 compared with 14,034 in the same period in 2010. Oh dear.
Now, I am no fan of the Morning Ipswich Star. It’s a rabidly bias publication towards the Labour Party and all things left-wing with an almost perverse love for Ipswich, which in my view gives false hope to the people of Ipswich. One of the reasons Ipswich performs poorly economically compared to our neighbours in Norwich and Colchester is, as I have written before, because of a lack of confidence in Ipswich people. Despite the town centre shopping precincts (Tavern Street, Buttermarket) being of a good quality with a wide range of retail outlets all I heard as a councillor from in fact fellow councillors and the general public was how diabolical the shopping experience was in Ipswich. Believe me, when you have visited places like Leigh in Greater Manchester, our town centre is like Paris in comparison.
Anyway back to the Morning Ipswich Star. Andrew Grant-Adamson over at Media Wordblog picked up a tweet from Tim Youngman who is Archant’s head of digital marketing saying he would be in Ipswich today to meet with editorial staff at the East Anglia Daily Times (EADT) and the Morning Ipswich Star. Andrew writes: 

“I wonder what he had to say to the staff of papers which seem to be in denial about recognising the digital revolution and its impact on newspapers.
Looking at the papers websites (they have a joint staff so the content is very similar) there is little sign of awareness of the way things are changing. Yes, stories have social media buttons and there are blogs.

But look at those blogs and start wondering why they bother.

The two Suffolk papers have six blogs that appear on both sites plus two with appear only on the Star site and two at the EADT. Here is a list of them with the dates when they were last updated: 

Dominic Castle, Deputy Editor EADT  (Dec 22, 2011)
Penelope Parker, EADT only (Jul 11, 2011)
Nigel Pickover, Editor Star (Jun 22, 2011)
Paul Geater, Political reporter, Star (Nov 4 2011)
Anthony Bond (July 11, 2011)
Wayne Savage  (Mar 12, 2012)
Dan Gooderham (Nov 21, 2011)
Josh Warwick (Jul 27, 2011)
Mike Bacon (Feb 15, 2012)
Mark Heath (Feb 14 2012)”

Compare the above to the plethora of blogs which now exist just on Ipswich politics and you can see why Archant have got a real problem. There is Kevin Algar’s A Riverside View, Cllr Alasdair Ross’s blog and James Spencer’s Bridge Ward News. And, of course, there is Ipswich Spy, which when they publish (not as regularly as I would like) is head and shoulders above the drivel written by the political commentators at the Morning Ipswich Star.
As a blogger, I attended Ipswich Borough Council’s budget meeting on 29th February and took my place in the public gallery. Paul Geater, political editor from the Morning Ipswich Star, arrived late and sat in the prestigious press bench. Unfortunately, Mr Geater left the meeting before the vote took place on how Ipswich taxpayers money was to be spent from April this year. This lack of attention from Mr Geater showed when it came to his article in the paper the next day: it was probably only 100 words buried at the bottom of an inside page and covered next to nothing of the proceedings. Compare that to my coverage – for free.
I stopped buying the then Morning Evening Star when I stepped down from the council in May 2011 as apart from the odd bit of intelligence I found about the council (as a humble backbencher you know about as much as the public do about how the council is run) it was stacked full of absolute tosh about either a cat stuck up a tree or a man who couldn’t get out of his own house because he had eaten too much. 
It seems many readers agreed with me and stopped buying the paper last year as well. I now find out all I need to know about local stories in Ipswich from free blogs. If the real circulation trend continues at the Morning Ipswich Star, the paper will soon be confined to the dustbin permanently. I can’t say I’ll miss it.
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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

3 thoughts on “Morning (Ipswich) Star circulation down by 10.7%

  1. To be fair, "bulks" were probably included in the previous figures as well.

  2. The figures on Star circulation were referenced by us the other day Gavin! Best place to look is the Roy Greenslade blog, the link is somewhere on Andrew Grant-Adamson's Media Wordblog.The Star is dying, just like all other local newspapers. They need to realise that the www is the future. If we started to take advertising and ran more stories, we could wipe them out!

  3. Thanks Ipswich Spy, I got the figures from the Greenslade Guardian blog and linked to him from my article.I can't see the Star being around in 2 years time – at least not in paid form. But then there isn't the market for a dead-tree press free-sheet either in Ipswich in my opinion.

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