Our local meeja correspondent, RAY GREENSLIDE, on the continuing decline and fall of a once-proud Croydon institution (another one)
What a way for the once-proud Croydon institution to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
In the 12 months, January to December 2019, the Advertiser‘s weekly sale was an average of a miserable 3,580. According to the MyLondon website, which absorbed the Advertiser‘s web presence in 2019, Croydon has a population of 380,000.
And in one sorry week last year, the Sadvertiser sold just 2,364 copies, according to data from the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
It’s a shocking statistic demonstrating the Sadvertiser‘s increasing irrelevance as a local newspaper.
The 3,580 audited circulation represents a 27 per cent drop in sales from 2018.
It was 2016 when the paper’s circulation first fell below 7,000 copies per week, as its sad decline continues, and accelerates.
Yet as recently as 2011, the Advertiser was boasting of weekly circulation of 77,548 – 20 times as many copies as they will manage to shift this week.
THE SADVERTISER’S SAD DECLINE
The sales slump follows a series of disastrous cost-cutting exercises by the paper’s management, beginning with the newspaper’s move away from Croydon in 2011, and including the abandonment of its part-paid-for-part-free experiment which artificially inflated its circulation with tens of thousands of free copies distributed in the south of the borough to satisfy advertisers.
The Croydon Advertiser was first published in 1869.
Their reports on Croydon more recently show them to be increasingly out-of-touch with the area that they claim to cover, and more than a bit desperate, their online reporting resorting to clickbait “listicals” such as “The 20 worst crime hot spots in Croydon”.
This is despite the Sadvertiser’s news coverage effectively being subsidised by the BBC to the tune of thousands of pounds.
The BBC provides the Sadvertiser with a local democracy reporter, who dutifully tries to cover Town Hall meetings across three south London boroughs where the newspapers’ owners, the Retch Group, can’t be bothered to send staff.
And the rest of the time, she tends to follow-up news stories broken by Inside Croydon.
While the Sadvertiser struggles, Inside Croydon‘s independent coverage of events in the borough goes from strength to strength. In 2019, Inside Croydon had 1.6million page views – an average of 30,700 per week. Indeed, on just one day last week, 13,249 people got their local news from this website, based in the heart of Croydon.
The Croydon Advertiser’s editor, Andy Worden, meanwhile, is based in a Retch eerie in Canary Wharf.
Back in 2010, he was in charge of the Advertiser when it ran a terrific front-page story that exposed a “sinister” brothel, somehow overlooking that his paper had been advertising the very same brothel for the previous year and then carried on taking a pimp’s cash to promote the house of ill-repute in its classified section for almost a month after the exposé.
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