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A new era for the Norwich Evening News: How the internet has transformed news

PUBLISHED: 11:19 23 February 2011 | UPDATED: 11:27 23 February 2011

It's now easier than ever to get the Evening News - in print or online.

It's now easier than ever to get the Evening News - in print or online.

Archant

The past decade has seen a revolution in the way people get their news - and the Evening News has been at the forefront of meeting the demands of our readers in this new age.

The days when the Evening News would drop through your letter box at tea time have long gone and, for the past few years, the Evening News has been available in shops and from vendors from mid-morning.

That change has happened because the rise of the internet means people are keen to read the news as it happens.

The advent of 24-hour rolling news and the internet’s remarkable growth means people no longer have to wait to get the information they want.

You just click on computers or mobile phones to get the news you want, when you want it and where you want it.

We have been at the head of this change, with www.eveningnews24.co.uk, which has become the place where our dozens of local journalists post Norwich and Norfolk news as it happens.

We launched the website in May 2001 and it now has an average of 7,500 visitors each day, who, between them, look at an average of 33,600 pages a day.

It has revolutionised the way articles are written. The website gives our reporters the opportunity to put their stories online as soon as the facts are established.

That’s often from the place the story has happened, because technology advances mean there’s no longer any need for reporters to come back to the offices in Rouen Road before getting the news to readers.

Photographers, too, are able to file pictures from on the spot and we put those up on the website, often in the form of picture galleries.

News about Norwich is now available much quicker than could ever be imagined in years gone by, thanks to those advances. This means the Evening News is even more at the heart of Norwich life than ever before and the newspaper has benefitted from the changes.

But what has not changed, and what will never change, is the Evening News ethos that if something’s happening in our city you will read about it in the Evening News.

We know you want to know what goes on in this fine city. We know you want to hear what your friends, neighbours and work colleagues, both past and present, are up to.

We know you are interested in what’s going on in schools, hospitals, companies and what the local councils are up to.

We know you want us to hold people in authority to account and to ask questions of people in power, and our journalists relish the opportunity to do so every single day.

That’s why we have a team of reporters who have great contacts in the community and who possess the local knowledge and expertise which means we can analyse what’s going on in our communities. And as we aim to continue providing the best news service we can we have decided to print the Evening News at about midnight to give the newspaper a longer shelf life and, hopefully, attract more readers.

At the moment, almost all of the newspaper, with the exception of the front page and the back pages, are completed the previous day.

But from Monday, all of the newspaper will go to our presses in Thorpe at about midnight to ensure the paper is in the shops from the morning.

Because the Evening News will be on the shelves earlier in the day it will give more people the opportunity to become readers and will be available all day.

We’re not alone in doing this. Many other traditional ‘evening’ newspapers around Britain have gone down this route.

As well as the technological changes which have prompted this move, it will also enable us to save money - vital in the recession and with the cost of newsprint increasing by 20pc in the past year.

The change is not because we want to offer a worse service or because the Evening News is in trouble. Indeed, while most newspapers in the UK are reporting a decline in circulation numbers, that is not the case in Norwich. Don Williamson, head of distribution at the Evening News, said the newspaper is the biggest selling daily newspaper in the Norwich area, beating all the national papers.

The past six months have seen the sales of the Evening News increase on those of the previous year. Mr Williamson, said today: “While we await the completion of the usual independent audit process, we know our sales are up. We need to say a big ‘thank you’ to our editorial, distribution and circulation teams along with the 400-plus newsagents and staff who sell and deliver the Evening News every day.”

Mr Williamson said the earlier print time meant the Evening News could be delivered to newsagents at the same time as other titles produced by Archant, the publishers of the Evening News and the EDP, and would help save money by reducing the number of van runs needed. But he said it would also be good for the environment, because combining the deliveries would slash the daily mileage of the vans which distribute the papers around the area.

That amounts to about 2,250,000 miles every year – the equivalent of driving from Norwich to Glasgow and back 296 times!

Alan Haynes, from Simpson & Taylor newsagents in Sandy Lane, Lakenham, said today: “From the feedback I have had about the print time change, we haven’t had much adverse reaction.

“People who take the Evening News say they get it because it has all the local news in it. You can get news from so many places these days with the TV and the internet, but it tends to be national or international news.

“Where else, apart from the Evening News, are people going to find out about what’s happening on the Heartsease? That’s what readers like from the paper.”

Evening News editor Tim Williams is in the city listening to readers thoughts on the changes, so feel free to drop into one of the sessions to ask questions and tell us what you’d like to see in your Evening News. He will be in Hellesdon Centre, in Middletons Lane, from 4pm to 6pm today (Tuesday, February 22), in Frere Road Community Centre in Heartsease from 5pm to 7pm tomorrow (Wednesday, February 23), and in The Costessey Centre in Longwater Lane from 4pm to 6pm on Friday, February 25.

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