Posted by Harry Mottram on 12th Aug 2018

New local newspapers begin to spring up

Big publishers shown up by new local start-up newspapers

Who would have thought there was a market for local news writes Harry Mottram. Clearly not Reach, Johnston Press and the like.

The multi million pound media groups who own most of the nation’s local newspapers have cut the amount of news in their papers year on year to the point where they are filled with press releases and voluntary contributions. They have also axed many titles, making journalists and printers out of work as news moves online.  Now, a new breed of local newspapers are appearing often set up by former employees of the original titles. They tend to self-finance the new titles and are prepared to do the hard graft of marketing the titles and selling the adverts themselves. Clearly there is a thirst for local news.

The Wotton Times is one example in the Cotswold town of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire while on the Isle of Wight the Isle of Wight Observer has published its first edition in opposition to the Newsquest’s Isle of Wight County Press which is not perhaps the paper it once was. Local papers were papers of record back in the day but have been squeezed of resources in order to maximise profits for the shareholders. It is bad news for journalists and printers and the industry in general, but the new titles appearing use printers to print their titles.

The Wotton Times told Print Monthly: “Our philosophy is ‘print first’ and only have a website as a landing page to provide information to potential advertisers. For fast-breaking news we have a Facebook page where we can host videos and photos that are time-sensitive.”  This is in contrast to Johnson Press, Reach and Newsquest et al who have a policy of ‘web first’ which has destroyed the point of buying a weekly paper for local news.

Manor Printing Services in Wotton-under-Edge is the company charged with printing the newspaper. They use a Heidelberg B2 litho press for the job and print the paper on an uncoated paper rather than the traditional lower quality paper used for newspapers.

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