I have been a daily subscriber to the Leicester Mercury for over 25 years. As it’s from the same stable as the Derby Evening Telegraph and Nottingham Evening Post I imagine they have taken similar trajectories in sales, design and content. I believe that in the 1980’s the Mercury would sell plus 150,000, but it is now down to less that 30,000 daily sales. While they might not have been as popular, the other two evening papers will doubtless have seen similar declines. From the 1990’s onwards I have seen regular stories about redundancies at these papers (and others) as a consequence.
The obvious inference from these facts is that this decline with a spiral of falling circulation and declining standards is terminal. And of course it might be.
But actually I think (and hope) not. What has really surprised me is that the quality of the Mercury seems to have measurably improved in the last few years. Pictures, now both in colour and black and white have improved in quality by a significant level. They are better, sharper and more pertinent to the written word. The content is more varied with a more magazine-like feel and broader appeal, which, for me at least makes sitting down for a quiet 15 minute evening read much more pleasurable.
And finally the accuracy of the content. I am sure nearly everyone when reading a story about something, which they know about, has said in the past that either some fact may be wrong or the interpretation is flawed. Well I can only comment about the area for which I have some expertise and can therefore comment authoritatively: property, planning and development. I am sure I am not looking through rose tinted spectacles, but I feel the standards here have also risen substantially in the last few years.
So well done Mercury (and others?). I hope you can make another 100 years. At the moment you certainly deserve to do so.