R.I.P. Venue magazine
After 30 years almost to the day, Venue magazine will cease to be a print edition as of the next edition, out at the end of this month. It will continue as an online listings guide, and will provide the what’s on content for Northcliffe’s other titles locally, including the Evening Post, Bristol Observer and the local Metro.
This is a hell of a wrench for several people. Some Venue staff and freelancers will now be laid off. There certainly won’t be much room for me in this new scheme of things, but heigh-ho, we had a damn good run at it. It was a great laugh, I became lifelong friends with some wonderful people and I think the old rag probably did Bristol a lot of favours down the years. Didn’t do much harm anyway.
This latest move comes a year after Venue went from weekly to monthly publication, and is part of a wider reorganisation of what remains the Northcliffe empire locally. The Evening Post now becomes The Post (since it’s actually been published every morning for years). It will no longer publish a Saturday edition, and 19 people will be made redundant – about a third of the remaining staff. Casualties will include the Post’s underappreciated staff photographers, who get offered freelance contracts instead.
So then, another footnote in the long, slow death of Britain’s regional press that’s been going on for years now. And frankly a catastrophe for local democracy, ‘specially at a time when we’re talking about changing the system so’s we give huge amounts of power and influence to an individual in the form of an elected mayor.
Remember that what most of what passes nowadays for news in the local media, print and broadcast, has originated as a press release from your local council, local constabulary, or from a business. This trend will continue to the point where virtually all control of your local news agenda is in the hands of large public and private organisations.
We’ll share out the blame some other time.
The Venue-sized gap in my schedule and the death of print generally means I’m running out of excuses to avoid the Big Project I Wasn’t Going To Start For Another Ten Years Should I Live That Long. Damn!
I’m going to miss Venue and its people, and it’s looking like I won’t be reporting/investigating any local news and issues anymore, aside of course from the occasional grumpy and semi-informed blog posting, most of which can probably be filed under the generic headline COUNCIL DOES SOMETHING STUPID. Exactly the sort of thing the local press used to do.
Meanwhile, I’ve a few very talented former colleagues who will be looking for work. If anyone needs a journalist – and let’s face it, there are times when we all need a journalist – give them a shout down at Venue and the Post.
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