A portrait of a provincial newspaper, The Clonmel Nationalist reporting on local events in Tipperary.

We are a race of inveterate and compulsive newspaper readers. As well as our national dailies, this country produces forty-eight provincial newspapers every week.

South Tipperary's leading weekly newspaper, The Clonmel Nationalist, has been in production for eighty-seven years. Started in 1890 by a group of local businessmen, it originally operated as a propaganda tool for the Home Rule and Land League movements. 

Then as now its primary function was to make money.

The Clonmel Nationalist now has a weekly distribution of 16,000 copies and growing. 

Reporter Seán O'Mórdha visited the newspaper to find out more about how it operates.

Every Monday morning William Darmody, editor at the newspaper, chairs an editorial meeting with staff where stories, which are mainly local, are assigned to the paper's seven journalists. 

We endeavour to fill the role of a communication medium for the local people.

Mr Darmondy also talks about the political and religious allegiances of the newspaper. 

Behind every newspaper are the printers, the compositors, the clerical staff and the advertising sales staff.

The life blood of every newspaper is, of course, its advertising sales.

The Clonmel Nationalist earns revenue from several thousand pounds worth of advertising every week. 

Managing Director of the newspaper Anthony Murphy describes the influence that the paper has had on all aspects of life in the locality over the years. 

I'd say it's as important now as ever it was.

Seán O'Mórdha puts it to Mr Murphy that The Clonmel Nationalist is a Fine Gael newspaper and asks him which party he will be supporting the forthcoming general election. Mr Murphy, however, claims that all parties will get equal coverage.

Deputy Editor and Chief Sub Editor Brendan Long covers everything from court proceedings to reviewing the Christmas panto. Mr Long describes the weekly routine for the newspaper covering court cases.

We don't normally get very sensational cases.

He goes on to describe The Clonmel Nationalist as

The servant of the community.

This episode of 'Next Stop' was broadcast on 20 April 1977. The reporter is Seán O'Mórdha.