At Random with Martin Laing – January 6

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Future is bright

Much has been written in recent years about the prospects for British newspapers given the extraordinarily rapid changes to our traditional means of communication.
Many pundits have for years been predicting the demise of the printed press as electronic media explodes all around us. Indeed, there is some merit to that view as print circulations have generally declined as today’s news moves online.

I was, therefore, intrigued by the historical focus in last week’s issue chronicling the now 160-year span of The Oban Times. I should add that as a journalist with more than 40 years in newspapers, I am something of a traditionalist and have an enduring affection for the printed press.

I am also, of course, a former staff member on The Oban Times and a continuing contributor, so I have a vested interest in this august publication and its ongoing success.

The Oban Times has, like other media organisations, fully embraced the new world of online working, with a great website and publication of everything it does online and across social media. Many of you dear readers and advertisers will be perusing my ramblings on your devices rather than in print. And that is clearly not about to change.

However, The Oban Times as a printed newspaper remains a success story and is a vital part of life for many thousands of people in the town, its surrounding area and much further afield. Indeed, I bought a copy in Stirling last week and was right behind an elderly lady doing the same thing. We even ended up in conversation about Oban and its newspaper as a result.

The Oban Times remains in safe hands and has a brilliant team of journalists and other staff members – perhaps especially its IT team in light of what I have written – to take it onwards into the future.

Reaching its landmark 160th anniversary is a wonderful achievement and I believe it has a bright future.