Future of local newspapers debated in Honiton

PUBLISHED: 12:18 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 23:03 15 June 2010

HOW can pensioners, with no experience of computer use, get to grips with the digital age? That was one of the questions posed to Herald editor Belinda Bennett this morning when she addressed the February meeting of Sound Out Honiton.

HOW can pensioners, with no experience of computer use, get to grips with the digital age?

That was one of the questions posed to Herald editor Belinda Bennett this morning when she addressed the February meeting of Sound Out Honiton.

'Newspapers and the digital age' was the subject of Belinda's talk.

She explained to members of the self-help group for the hard of hearing that print journalism will remain a feature of local news for at least the next two decades, although there would undoubtedly be changes over that period.

Running a parallel and constantly up-dated web news service was essential in terms of reaching and increasing the company's audience, Belinda said.

The bread and butter tools of her trade had been a notebook and pen but had increased to include a video recorder.

She demonstrated, using a camera and laptop computer, how video news could be used to record the events of the community in an engaging and cost effective way.

Some members of the group said they would never consider learning to use a computer and would continue to rely on the traditional, printed format for local information.

Honiton has the highest number of lone pensioner households in Devon, but efforts are being made to encourage older residents to use computers.

Belinda talked about her career in journalism, telling those present about a day she spent with politician Shirley Williams in the 1980s and what it was like to go on sea trials with the former HMS Sheffield (the second).

She also recalled the day Prince Charles opened an electricity sub-station on St Mary's, in the Isles of Scilly, and how in the 1980s former mayor Pat Allen and Councillor Peter Halse saved Honiton Hospital from possible closure.


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