Friendly neighborhood newspapers


As an advertising professional, I have for long reserved a certain fondness for what I call “friendly neighborhood newspapers”. Community newspapers may not figure in large-budget media plans, but certainly have a homegrown flavor that large newspapers can’t even come close to.

So how do they achieve that ?

They voice even the smallest concerns of the neighborhood. They showcase talent. They provide useful information and news. Who’s what ? Who’s where ? Who’s who ? And with some luck, if the paper features a matrimonial column, it might even set some hearts aflutter.

But the biggest feature of the community newspaper is its ability to bring people together under one small banner. It gives the residents a common platform – “space” they can call their own.

Sometimes, it’s also about taking you down memory lane …

The Chak De girls of yesteryears, who made headlines in an era without sponsorships or television coverage. (Those days, people actually played for the love of the sport.)

The 80-year-old doctor who gets nostalgic as he goes back in time and space about roads that were peaceful and cars that didn’t send you scurrying for cover. (Hard to believe, but true …)

The postman who knew exactly when your baby was arriving, or your family doctor who also gave you some advice on stocks and shares. (Looking back, people actually had all the time in the world for you.)

The sentiments expressed in parentheses are windows to a small world that the larger newspapers cannot fathom. Especially in terms of how local can you get ?

The “neighborhood” vantage point is natural domain for the community newspaper. It is the listening post and has the heart and soul to reflect the true sentiments of a small residential community.

5 Comments so far

  1. Lokesh (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

    Hi Sharath,

    This is very good post.In this day & age of the corporates taking over the newspapers & running it with the large intention of money making, this is very different & nice. I have seen something similar in Koramangala as well. But that has more local ads than articls. Didn’t know this existed. Good. Any idea where one can pick this up from.

  2. Sharath (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

    Lokesh : This paper is distributed free in Frazer Town and an extended radius of about four kilometres. It is normally inserted into the mainline newspaper delivered to you.

  3. Lokesh (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    Thanks Sharath. Will see how I can pick up one then.

  4. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on September 26th, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

    Excellent post. In a large city we tend to forget the closeness that a neighbourhood can bring…and the feeling of “belonging” that a community newspaper can cause.

  5. Pisipati Sriram (unregistered) on September 27th, 2007 @ 9:53 am

    Neighbourhood papers serve a good purpose in highlighting many area-specific issues and bring them to the notice of the authorities concerned.

    The problems may be varied, bad roads, erratic power supply, irregular water supply, lack of bus facilities, overhead traction lines posing problems, dangling cable wires, inconvenient local train timings, etc. Including eve teasing nuisance and rowdyism in interior lanes and bylanes, encroachment of parks etc.

    Major newspapers and their special correspondents/reporters, busy as they are, may not have time for highlighting the area-specific issues and often even if such problems are carried, they will be dispensed with in one or two paras. Suh coverage serves no purpose in stirring authorities into action.

    Neighbourhood papers in some places serve well as community connectors between the residents and the provincial govts. Similarly many events, celebrations in gated communities get projected in these newsletters – afternooners or eveningers.

    If these papers are used only for securing govt and ad agency ads under small newspapers category etc with minimum circulation figures, then they may not be much use to public at large.

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