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Going digital or going free? Ireland’s newspapers struggle for digital success as the print cliff looms

Hayes, K. & Felle, T. (2016). Going digital or going free? Ireland’s newspapers struggle for digital success as the print cliff looms. In: Mair, J, Clark, T, Fowler, N , Snoddy, R & Tait, R (Eds.), Last Words: How can journalism survive the decline of print? (pp. 23-31). Abramis.


Never have so many people been interested in news. And never have so few people paid for it. At a time when many Irish news organisations are recording double digit digital growth, all Irish newspapers, not unlike their counterparts across the UK and elsewhere, are haemorrhaging print circulation. And despite the fact print remains profitable, print advertising rates are declining year on year, and circulation drops averaging five per cent per year are now standard across the industry. A number of local and national newspapers in the Republic and in Northern Ireland have already closed, and more are likely to follow. At the same time, almost all Irish newspapers are recording extraordinary growth in digital traffic. This chapter looks at the Irish case, first with an overview of the national picture in the Irish Republic. Secondly through a case study in Limerick, where a legacy Johnston Press-owned title the Limerick Leader, producing both daily and weekly editions, is battling for survival with local free rivals. While its online presence is healthy, revenue returns are tiny. Its struggle is a case study for what is happening elsewhere in the Irish market.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Permission to publish on City's repository granted by the publisher. For rights and permission requests please email
Publisher Keywords: Local newspapers; Provincial press Ireland; Digital transition; Newsonomics
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
Related URLs:
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