CASE STUDY #2: The Week In
Updated: May 5, 2020
Area: Bristol and NE Somerset
Editor: Stephen Rodgers
The Week In is a free weekly newspaper in a magazine format that focuses on local issues in Bristol and NE Somerset.
Just like most independent news providers, as a result of Covid-19, The Week In has been affected by the loss of advertising revenue. For example, with almost 16,000 printed copies each week, the major distribution outlets are supermarkets, pubs, cafes, libraries and leisure venues. Almost all of these are closed to them now.
Different formats, different audiences
Their online edition normally receives around 2,000 views a week. Through social media, they have managed to more than double traffic to their site over the last four weeks.
However, this is having an impact on the audiences they are reaching now. They have always been aware that their print and online editions attract different reader profiles: it is the older and less tech savvy who predominantly read the print version.
‘It is [the older part] of the local population which probably needs The Week In most, as a means of communication, information and entertainment.’ Stephen Rodgers, Editor.
Beyond traditional journalism
The Week In are now relying on word of mouth recommendations, and the hope that younger family members might help lead some of their print edition readers to embrace technology and become part of the new readership for the online edition. They are now considering funding alternatives beyond sales and advertising revenue.
Locally, they are in contact with community help groups which are providing shopping services for elderly residents. Food banks and dial-a-ride bus services are now also delivering.
They are also working with the community radio station in the Keynsham area, a new broadcaster which only started in February. As a result of the crisis, it has immediately become a source of up-to-date community information. It now has a regular news bulletin which is provided by The Week In, using material they publish online. Their aim: to reach some of those missing readers who may well find listening to the radio an easier task than going online.
In terms of costs, they have had to furlough their sales staff, but have kept their small journalism team. They are still able to produce news weekly. While they are confident that they will still be able to run for the next five months, the situation is being kept under review on a daily basis.