There are so many media platforms in Liverpool today. From newspapers, online news and blog sites, the media representation of Liverpool has transformed beyond recognition.
At this month’s Platform event in Liverpool Science Park, I was delighted to attend and listen to an interesting debate, which looked at Liverpool’s media community. Led by representatives from the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk, this was a debate that was informative and engaging, with the panel and audience each having plenty to say. It was a lively discussion and at times very feisty!
Because media is a broad subject, this debate focused on how Liverpool is represented locally, where resources can be applied, the fairness of media coverage, and if any improvements can be made. The panel included Ryan McKernan from Agent Marketing, Paul O’Connor from Hit Search, Rosie Kenyon from Kenyons, Susan Lee from the Liverpool Echo, Pauline McAdam from BBC Radio Merseyside, Mick Coyle from Radio City Talk, and Liam Fogarty from the University of Central Lancashire.
I have learned plenty about the local media in Liverpool. For starters, print media is declining due to the fall in circulation, and fierce competition from online platforms. This means smaller print titles face a difficult and uncertain future, meaning some will cease to exist.
As a long-standing local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo continues to adapt and buck the trend for print media. This is through a combination of advertising revenue and their continued coverage of news representing all aspects of life in the city, including crime, politics and football. Indeed, I have learned the Echo recently saw a 60% surge in paper sales due to Liverpool’s recent dramatic Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona, which shows how popular topics such as football helps to attract and grow audiences.
Advertising is also crucial for both traditional and digital media platforms. Whilst BBC Radio Merseyside is funded by the licence fee, others are reliant on revenue generated by advertising through audience growth, from the popularity of content created that connects and resonates with people. Therefore, to create and market content, it is important to know the target audience, and how to deliver and connect with them.
Despite the popularity of online platforms, I was also interested to learn that radio is still popular. Radio is a very simple concept that makes a connection with people and is also second to none when producing and delivering news, that relates to people in Liverpool. It also has the advantage of being continually able to rapidly adapt and produce content to fit the changing tone of these current times.
I also learned other interesting points related to Liverpool’s local media, which include the following.
- Engaging with people to get messages across.
- Need to be digitally literate and know how to use platforms properly.
- Plan what a campaign needs to do.
- Digital marketing is a very broad term.
- Know how to deliver content to a targeted audience.
- Content needs to tell stories that resonate with the audience.
- In negative stories, look for the positives.
Does Liverpool have the media it needs? Reflecting on what I have learned, I believe the media in Liverpool serves the city reasonably well. Platforms such as the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk produce content relevant to the city and its people, from local politics, public and mental health, environment, knife crime, government cuts, to other subjects such as football.
However, I also believe they can cover more stories related to the good things happening in Liverpool. These can include stories related to people, businesses, tourism and other topics. Indeed, there are several news websites such as Liverpool Business News, Good News Liverpool, My Planet Liverpool and The Guide Liverpool, which produce good quality content about positive things happening in the city.
I appreciate and respect that topics such as crime, local politics and football needs to be covered with limited media resources, as they are popular and helps sales. However, it is surely worth taking an occasional risk in covering other subjects, that may not get as much attention.
Is there any harm in trying?
In conclusion, I would like to thank all the panel members for their contribution to a lively debate, and to the members of the audience for their participation. My thanks also go to Liverpool Science Park for sponsoring the event. Finally, I would also like to thank Amanda Follit, Mick Ord, Garth Dallas and Steve Dickson, for organising a very thought-provoking discussion.