Monday, 13 December 2010

'Tis the season to be jolly...

Christmas is a tricky time for every department at a newspaper.

Sales are struggling to cut down supplies and deciding on which day to leave off their ABCs as sales are just so shit.

Editorial is stockpiling features like never before, while trying to maintain some semblance of actual news in a see of festive press releases.

And managers are, well, looking forward to the posh lunch/day off event they have planned despite giving every employee a £5 pot to piss in for their Christmas party...

Yet they shouldn't be the only ones reveling in the opportunities December presents.

Surely, for advertising departments up and down the land, Christmas is the time of joy, the time to make hay as it were, while the snow falls?

Every shop in the land should be queueing up to show off their wares in the pages of the local rag, giving away this that and the other and basically cosying up to newspapers all over the shop (I'm on fire for puns today).

However, it has to be embraced, and let's be honest, it's a bit of a God-send (can you see what I did there?) for stories in the week or so before the day itself, and for the week after. There are picture stories galore to be had, Christmas miracle births, Christmas Day births, swims, walks, etc etc.

So it was with interest that I took a little looksie round the usual band of high-flying news websites in a bid to see how each had harnessed the new season and was somewhat let down by my findings.

Various big hitters had nothing at all to do with Christmas online that I could find, including,, and to name but a few.

Others had a very small nod to the festive season, including the Lincolnshire Echo, which was flagging up a Santa's Letter scheme (prime advertising fodder I would imagine, as mentioned above) - a snip at £3.95!

The Reading Evening Post too seemed to have found a way of trying to eek out some cash, with a tie-up for Christmas shopping with an external retailer (see picture below).

Others had made a bit more of an effort, including Newsquest big hitters and, who put their stablemate the Argus to shame with full sections dedicated to everything snow- and Santa-based. A quick peek at the Bolton offering is below.

It would be interesting to know how much money their efforts made? Hopefully a lot.

Same with, which is running a Christmas lights competition, a natural home for such competitions what with page-starved books for most papers.

Anyway, the point of having a look really was just to harness whether anyone is actually trying to do anything differently in this sea of 'difficult financial times'.

My answer, as has been exposed so many times while writing this blog and working in a newsroom, is no in pretty much all cases.

I can only presume we're all too full of piss and wind (as well as mince pies and cheap Champagne) to actually try and do anything?

I sincerely hope those attempting to innovate and fight their way out of this paper bag of a recession succeed. Those who moan a lot but have tried nothing? Well, the papers will survive, hopefully without you...

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