One of the most graphic illustrations of the dire state of the newspaper industry greets me every morning as I head in to work.
Stood outside the remodelled Hammersmith tube station is a newspaper vendor. He is selling The Times. He is there whatever the weather from 630am. Same guy everyday. He presses tube goers to buy with energy and conviction. "Morning Times, Morning Times".
Now you would have thought that having a persuasive and committed sales agent pitched in front of one of the Capitals busiest transport hubs would make for good sales performance. Sadly not. I pass everyday and have done for months and I've seen one copy bought. Me and my fellow passenger shuffle by avoiding the sales gaze. Now maybe most people have bought their daily paper before reaching the concourse there are many newsagents from which to do so. Maybe but unlikely. My observation is that the majority choose Metro, a magazine, a book or nothing preferring to play with phone or ipod. This morning for example in a carriage of 18 travellers there were no paid for readers; 9 Metro; 3 Magazines and a book.
Anyway back to the valiant Times vendor...this morning I saw him briefly show his frustration as he slapped his newspapers back down on to the rack. Not surprising really this guy has a hard and thankless job. He should be rewarded and rested.
Roll on the day when those that want a daily newspaper are given an electronic reader and the content comes to them. It might spell the end of the vendor but the beginning of a modern vibrant newspaper sector that distributes its product in a way people wish it to receive it.
Sent from my handheld