Is it the final curtain or new hoorah for the Cumbernauld News?

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 20:54 on 4 April 2013.
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CAN we save ourselves from disaster? That’s the question which head honchos at the Johnston Press must be asking themselves day in day out, as they tuck into bagels at breakfast, lasagne at lunch and the Domino's Pizza dinner deal, ahead of a late night office meeting.

“Life is local”. It’s the Johnston Press mantra. They own a considerable number of local, regional and national newspapers – from the Cumbernauld News to the Scotsman.

However, lately, printed press has started to dwindle and we are in the era of the newspapers’ slow demise to death. Don’t get me wrong, though, I love newspapers – there’s just nothing like the feeling of reading the news in paper form, depending on the price, of course!

Nonetheless, despite my love of the printed press and the people who work in the industry, there is one newspaper which is clearly in a frantic drive to try and save itself.

The fabled ‘Noddy News’, or ‘Cumbernauld News’ - to give the paper its proper title, began in 1961, later joining up with the older Kilsyth Chronicle to become the News and Chronicle. When started, the paper was a huge success; success which continued until the start of the noughties.

In today’s times, though, the local tabloid has collapsed. And, according to ABC, the newspaper’s circulation figures tumbled between July – December, 2011 and July – December, 2012, from 7791 to 6712 - eek, that doesn’t sound too good.

Don’t worry though, the Wednesday wind-up, err, I mean the Cumbernauld News, is undergoing a major transformation; as the paper heads towards “a new era”, the Editor exclaimed in this week’s paper.

The paper will come back with “…hard-hitting news, punchy features, an improved website and a bright, new look,” the paper’s Editor continued to write in her full-page advert. And the best part of it? We get to share in the paper’s change. “We’ve got our own ideas”, Ms Mitchell adds, “…but we want you to share your vision too.”

What we have seen is the paper’s new, shiny logo, which comes to you with a brand new font – wow, and a new slogan; taking the paper from ‘Life is Local’ to ‘Your paper, your voice’.

In my opinion, this is it for the Noddy News. The staff I have met at the Cumbernauld News are fantastic; better educated and trained in journalism that a local novice such as myself. However, the staff are being let down by the paper itself and its owners.

The very fact that the paper and its owners talk of having their own clear vision for the paper yet, continually appealing for ideas shows, to me, a lack of clear vision. And, the continual reliance on crime stories and adverts is starting to kill off the “hard-hitting news” which the paper’s Editor is so clearly proud of.

It’s a shame that the Cumbernauld News is starting to fail. And, despite any possible rebrand, the paper will have to hike the price again; increase advertising costs and advertising spaces, effectively nailing the lid shut on the coffin.

I hope that the Cumbernauld News does manage to survive, not least because I would like to work with them to form a mini local press circle, where local news is shared more effectively but simply because it is integral to the town’s history. 

Just scrap some of the adverts; cut out the Kilsyth stores; lower the price and focus less on stories about crime, and then your new look, Ms Mitchell, could work out. Good luck, Noddy News – you’ll need it!