Newspapers have had a very difficult time of it in recent years as the rise of the Internet has posed a huge challenge to their traditional business model. How have Cambridge’s local newspapers fared?
Historical circulation figures are difficult to find on-line, but the Joint Industry Committee for Regional Media Research (JICREG) does publish figures going back to 2001, so with a bit of copying and pasting we can see what the picture is for our local newspapers over the last decade or so. It’s not a very pretty one.
Cambridge’s oldest newspaper is of course the Cambridge News, founded as the Cambridge Daily News in 1888 and more recently known as the Cambridge Evening News. Here are its circulation figures, based on the JICREG data:
As you can see, the circulation has steadily fallen over the last decade, and is now barely half what it was in 2001.
Cambridge’s free newspapers have also had a challenging time in recent years. Here are their circulation figures (note the larger scale on the vertical axis):
After a long period of falling circulation, the Town Crier and the Weekly News merged in 2009 to form the News & Crier. Its circulation has bounced back a little, but is still well below the combined circulation of its predecessors.
A new local newspaper, Cambridge First, was launched by Archant in 2010, but there don’t seem to be any circulation figures available for it online, even on Archant’s website. It would be interesting to know how it’s doing.
Newspapers have been an important part of Cambridge life for a long time, and both the main local newspaper groups have some very dedicated and capable journalists working for them. Let’s hope they are successful in adapting to the rapidly changing media environment of the 21st century.