As a resident of Swindon for the past 13 or so years, I've had an on/off relationship with my subscription to the local newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser. The paper has, in my opinion, a natural tendency to sensationalise the most inane snippets of 'news' and occasionally goes randonly off at a tangent to give some of the more 'interesting' residents of the town a soapbox. One I'd rather they not be given.
To give a particular example, the paper ran a whole series of articles on the town switching from a black-bag waste collection to wheelie bins. Not only was the wheelie-bin switch a non-issue to many residents in the borough, the Advertiser gave large families, who clearly were unable to manage their waste responsibly a channel to criticise the council, where if they had followed the council's advice, there wouldn't have been a problem.
Recently the Advertiser have increased the price of their print edition significantly; in today's times, everybody's at it, so why not the local rag? With promises of juicy editorial more pages jam packed with news and chapters of sport, I didn't immediately call the bank to cancel the Direct Debit, but waited to see what improvements the editor would make. While the thickness of the paper has certainly improved (the Monday edition still feels a little flimsy) the content still appears a little lacking. I can certainly dismiss many articles as uninteresting and skim through the paper in less than five minutes.
The sensationalism aspect still hasn't improved; mere chip-pan fires are still made to sound like towering infernos, and I question the responsibility of some articles. Take Scott D'Arcy's recent article "Killer pill bought online for just £9"; not only does it tell people how cheap these 'legal highs' are, but also gives the website where one can purchase the pills from. If some kid doesn't buy one of these chemicals as a result of this article, I'd be very surprised.
The Advertiser still gives reasonable value for money, is and a good window into the world that is Swindon. For that reason, I won't be cancelling just yet, however I hope that in time, the sensationalism tones down a little and the journalism becomes a little more responsible.