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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Please can we have the Manchester Evening News technology pages back

It is great to see Seb Ramsay write the lead for the Manchester Evening News today.

Seb wrote extensively for the Manchester Evening News technology business pages. As I recall at least a page was devoted to technology companies in Manchester; it was double page spreads at times if my memory serves me well.

Unfortunately, the weekly feature was cut around two years ago.

It was for me a real highlight of the business pages.

Yes Ernest Rutherford conducted ground breaking work on the atom here and yes much early pioneering computer work was performed here by Alan Turing at the university. Many would say that is enough to justify reinstating the feature, but the reason should be that Manchester still holds its own in pioneering technological work and it is a hotbed of technology companies.

How do I know this?: the technology pages showed the entrepreneurship and innovation in the city. The technology pages had some of the most impressive stories in the whole paper. I cannot believe that the technology sector has not declined in two years.

Manchester still has something to say and we need reminding of the technological expertise in the city.

Yes, the Manchester Evening News is under pressure as are all papers in terms of journalistic resources. And yes it must understandably have more important priorities that I do not appreciate. But the technology pages were always interesting and reflected an important part of the city and its identity.

I only hope that one day they return.

2 Comments:

Blogger Simon said...

This is indicative of the demise of the MEN, I rarely read it, even when free as it is simply out of touch with this city.
Manchester, and the North West in general, has a thriving digital community which is delivering some brilliant, innovative work. Yet the MEN does not touch the technology sector. There are some champions of the sector such as Manchester Digital who also run the Big Chip awards, but you wont hear much aboutthat in the MEN either.

4:47 AM

 
Anonymous Rob Baker said...

In response to Simon's comment:

I think that the MEN, like all regional newspapers, is under immense financial pressure. They are also under pressure from new forms of media such as blogs, discussion threads and of course Internet sites.

This has meant that readership is key. Advertisers are essential to the continuation of a newspaper rather than purchasers, hence the MEN is free in the city centre where it can attract a influential and greater readership. This helps sell advertising.

The result is that the paper must have broad appeal and be strong in certain popualr areas: sport, lifestyle, entertainment and business. However intersting the technology pages were is not as important as their commercial value.

They are of interest to people that work in the technology industry. If this is mirrored in the general readership they will come back as advertisers will see the value.

I think you also have to factor in that the financial pressures have led to cuts in the number of journalists.

It is not that the MEN doe not want the technology pages - it has to make choices.

8:36 AM

 

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