Panic As Man Burns Crumpets

Both a celebration of and an obituary for local newspapers

Book title

Panic As Man Burns Crumpets


Roger Lytollis

Standalone or series

Standalone (non-fiction)

First time reading this author?


Why I picked this

Recommended by Dan Slee for anyone who was a local journalist or cares about local news.

Review copy or purchase

Purchase. A physical copy which is unusual for me, but having it in print felt appropriate.

What it’s about

Stories from the author’s career as a feature writer and columnist for local newspapers in Cumbria and Edinburgh. A This Is Going To Hurt for journalism.


Funny, nostalgic and heartbreakingly sad. Roger Lytollis’s ode to local newspapers rang true for my time as a local newspaper reporter and everything I’ve seen since while working in public relations.

There’s lots to love in this book. It’s crammed full of stories about the kind of exposure to other people’s passions and idiosyncrasies which are part and parcel of local journalism. Roger, as you’d expect from an experienced feature writer, can tell a story. His self-deprecating humour and turn of phrase make this a joy to read.

But, it’s also terribly sad as he charts the downfall of local media. Now largely in the hands of a few huge companies it’s increasingly rare to find newspapers which are locally staffed or even focussed on local issues.

There’s a need for good journalism, but it’s not a business area anyone would want to invest in now. And, reading this book I have no hope that even with the passionate people hanging on to try and save this industry that there’s any real future for local press. I pray that I’m proved wrong.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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