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(Antrim) Antrim Guardian

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Weekly newspaper out on Wednesdays.

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      10.05.2009 15:32
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      A regional, local newspaper providing reports on local events

      I grew up in the town of Antrim and lived there until at 30 I got married and moved away from the town, not too far away. Antrim is the county town of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, it is approximately 18 miles from Belfast and just over 100 miles from Dublin. Antrim has good transport links, rail, road and bus, the Northern Ireland International Airport is also located about 3 miles from the town.

      The Antrim Guardian is a title I grew up with and do think of when I think of Antrim. The Antrim Guardian is a local weekly newspaper published on a Wednesday by the Alpha Newspaper Group, the group has a number of local newspaper publications throughout Northern Ireland, and currently it is priced at 95p. The Antrim Guardian reports on all the local news from Antrim town and the surrounding areas such as Templepatrick, Crumlin and Randalstown.

      The paper covers all the local news stories and events and covers things such as church notices, council meetings, local sporting events, school or group activities etc, depending on the important events taking place. The newspaper is noted for covering activities in the local schools and many of the buyers of the paper are proud parents buying an edition when their child has been photographed at some event or have done something newsworthy.

      The Antrim Guardian is a weekly newspaper and this has some advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that it may not catch breaking news events, however this can also be an advantage in that the paper gets the chance to give the local perspective on the particular news event. This is perhaps best illustrated by a very awful recent event that attracted national and international news coverage, the murder of 2 soldiers at a local army base. This story is still being covered and the Antrim Guardian had a very important role to report on the reaction of local inhabitants to the shocking events, it still has a role to play by reporting on the ongoing investigations into the event.

      The Antrim Guardian does have the opportunity to report on national and international events but its core function is to report on the local issues of interest to the local readers. As long as I remember there has always been an Antrim Guardian in my parents' home, and when my brothers worked away from home an extra copy was purchased once a month and posted to them so they could keep up to date with home events. Local newspapers have an essential service to give voice to the average man in the street on local and national issues of interest. I visit my parents' home every week and they always keep the latest edition for me to read.

      The front page of the paper like all newspapers tries to grab the attention of potential readers and buyers, the current edition reports on the arrest of a local man in relation to a recent murder in a nearby town. There are also a number of small advertisements on the front page, the headline story is continued inside the paper. The first few pages of the paper are dedicated to the main local news events and some national items such as swine flu. The paper also carries many stories from the local courts detailing local people convicted of various crimes. Further into the paper the mood lightens and various local events are reported on such as various charity or fundraising activities that have recently taken place. The paper also gives much space to local church events and has a section titled "Church Circles" within these pages there are several small reports of events that have taken place in local churches or will be taking place soon. Another section in the paper is titled "Down Memory Lane" and this consists of pictures from earlier years, perhaps of older landmark buildings from Antrim or the surrounding towns, there are often old school photographs or photographs of local notables as children.

      The newspaper has numerous advertisements throughout the paper on every page and there is always a few pages given over specifically to advertising relating to cars "Motor Showcase". These pages consist of adverts from local car dealers but also small ads featuring vehicles for private sale. There is also a section of "Family Notices", births, deaths, anniversaries of deaths and other family type announcements. There is quite an extensive section of small ads where local sellers can advertise there wares, this also includes individuals selling items privately. It is also possible to find local trades people and services in this section. The "Public Announcements" pages provide information on planning applications and appeals, and information such as open nights in local schools or notices of forthcoming roadworks, and even information on changes to the local refuge collections. There is also a small section advertising local employment opportunities, this can be a very useful source for anyone looking for employment and although a small section it is certainly worth studying closely.

      A new section in the paper, well new to me, is "Let's hear it from the kids" and this features a local school and interviews with various pupils in the school, another reason for a parent to buy the paper. The paper also reports on scout groups, boys and girls brigade, youth clubs and even school sports days. The Sports section is always littered with stories of local teams from various sports such as hockey, football, motorcycling, golf, gaelic sports, bowls etc. This is probably the largest section in the paper and has lots of reports and photographs of local sports people.

      The edition I am currently reading has 64 pages and these pages are jam packed with local news, information, photographs, advertisements and notices. The paper definitely caters for the local readership and it is essential that local people can read their local news and also see that someone is listening to the local voice. It is good to know that there is still the opportunity to get news and information that relates to local issues and local and regional newspapers should be supported. I find that the Antrim Guardian is a great source for local information and has many light hearted stories but can also cover the more serious stories on a local and national level.

      I must admit I was surprised to find this title on Dooyoo but I am glad as it gave me an opportunity to sit down and spend some time catching up with local news events and local people.

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