Coming from an area with poor local coverage* I was surprised that I get two free newspapers a week, both of which seem fairly normal and not too sensationalist.
The Rugby Observer comes out every Thursday and is delivered free where I live. Today it came with a four-page advertorial on the outer sheet, which was from the prospective Tory candidate for the next General Election, Mark Pawsey. It also carried a story about the sitting MP Tory Jeremy Wright and how he’s supportive of a new Speaker and reform of rules (Due to boundary revisions, the current constituency is being split, with the Kenilworth area and Dunchurch joining with Southam, and Rugby borough north of the M45/A45 pretty much being on it’s own, and Wright is standing in the safer seat). So I wonder if it’s a little bit in the camp of one strand of opinion. Certainly no mention of the Borough Council’s budget overrun either.
However, the Observer does have a good range of stories (I saw that the local blogging rector was featured in a story about car parking charges affecting attendances), with a few pages of local sports as well.
On Wednesdays, I get the Rugby Times. Yes, I know the link is for the Coventry Times, but it seems that they are sister papers and share a website, which is a bit rubbish. Another thing I find a but rubbish about it is the Mike Lockley column, “It’s a lighter look at life…”. The Rugby/Coventry Times website describes him as “the funniest man in Tinterwebland”. If so, ‘Tinterwebland’ must be like North Korea – stuck in the 1950s, where laughter is banned and the entertainment is usually made up of lists of production figures for the local tractor plant, because I just don’t see how any of it is funny.
Again, the Times seems to cover a fair range of stories with less pages than the Observer, although often there is only one page for sport.
If I want to pay for a paper, there’s the Rugby Advertiser. This has more space to put stories in (not being solely reliant on falling advertising revenue), and the main reason I don’t get it regularly is that I don’t tend to be in town when it comes out, and I can check the web pages easily. The Advertiser also puts out a free listings paper, the Rugby Review, which comes out Thursday/Friday.
Once a month, I also get Around Rugby Magazine, another listings magazine. I can’t find a website for it, but I am going to email the editor to see if there is one or not.
*The Crawley News is a weekly free, which has been reducing distribution over the years – I didn’t get a copy after about 2007, and other people I know have more recently suddeny stopped receiving it. The Crawley Observer is a weekly that costs about 25p and is usually seen as a bit tabloidy. The Crawley Times is new, but is owned by the same group as the Observer, costs 50p and is made up largely from stories in the County Times, based in Horsham. The Observer has recently appeared to be incredibly desperate for news – relying on Fire Service reports of minor callouts and pleading for people to contact them in case there’s a story. Sad.