Dublin Inquirer website launches print edition

Newspaper will be sold through retail outlets and vending machines for €3

Lois Kapila: the  managing editorer of the Dublin Inquirer wants to produce ‘a local publication that is recognisably Dublin, and is a space for quality local journalism’.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Lois Kapila: the managing editorer of the Dublin Inquirer wants to produce ‘a local publication that is recognisably Dublin, and is a space for quality local journalism’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Received wisdom these days is that print journalism is dying. Across the world, circulation is tumbling, advertisers are shifting their budgets to Facebook and Google and newspapers are cutting staff while simultaneously attempting to “pivot to digital”, usually with the panache of an elephant taking up figure skating. Two weeks ago, the London Independent published its last print edition.

But a contrary opinion holds that, despite the trend, some people will continue to appreciate the pleasure of opening a well-designed, well-written newspaper or magazine.

This week, in a startling affirmation of that view, Dublin Inquirer, a website covering local government, planning, arts, culture and food across the capital city, launches the first edition of its monthly newspaper.

With a cover price of €3, the paper will be available through retailers around the city centre. And, in a wonderfully quixotic gesture, it will also be sold through bright-red vending machines rescued from a German scrapheap.

“Some people thought we were crazy,” laughs managing editor Lois Kapila. “We’re not just moving into the print world, we’re bringing back a distribution method from the 1920s.”

People may say print is dead, she says, but the shops are still full of newspapers. “The Irish Times hasn’t got rid of its print edition and I bet it’s making more out of that than it does online. There’s a readjustment happening, but I don’t think print will die.”

The Dublin Inquirer website was launched early last year and Kapila says she always intended that there would be a print version. “We were all completely unknown,” she says. “I’m new to the country and the reporters are all fresh out of college. So the idea was to be online for a while first, to spread the word.”

One early casualty of the crisis in print was the small alternative city magazines which flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. Titles such as In Dublin, which had acted as proving grounds for a generation of journalists, withered and died, leaving a gap for in-depth local journalism.

Kapila wants to produce “a local publication that is recognisably Dublin, and is a space for quality local journalism”. The first print issue includes articles on the city’s fragmentary and disconnected cycle lanes, and on how refuse dumps are disproportionately located in disadvantaged areas.

Kapila says Dublin Inquirer’s audience is the growing number of people who are choosing to make their homes within the city limits rather than the suburbs and who are interested in the urban fabric and how it can be improved.

But will people pay the cover price? “I don’t see why not,” she says. “There needs to be a bit of a culture shift. People need to realise that if you want decent journalism you’ll have to pay for it.”