21 December 2014

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Axed editor’s magazine thrives nine months on

A monthly magazine launched in January by a local newspaper editor axed from his job last year has almost doubled in size.

Hyper-local magazine The Worthing Journal was founded by Paul Holden, a former journalist on The Argus, Brighton, who also edited The Worthing Sentinel, which Newsquest scrapped last October after almost 11 years.

Paul said the title is going from strength-to-strength: “It is a lot of hard work, but the feedback from readers and advertisers makes it all worthwhile.

“With most traditional newspapers fading, journalists should seriously think about launching their own publications – just as people with a sense of community did 200-odd years ago.

“Don’t be afraid – just get under the skin of the village/town or city you live in rather than sit in the office churning out press releases from council press officers.”

In April Paul attended every Royal Wedding street party in Worthing and sent the resulting edition to The Queen. He received a reply from her lady-in-waiting saying the Queen was interested to hear about the town’s royal celebrations.

Paul started the journal after becoming so overwhelmed by messages of support from Sentinel readers he decided to pour his redundancy money into the publication.

He had just a few weeks to produce the first edition, which consisted of 32 pages. Now it is 60, and Holden will be aiming for at least 64 in October.

He added: “Many papers owned by big groups have turned their backs on the community, getting rid of experienced reporters and closing offices, and that’s why they are in a tailspin, unable to grasp this basic fact as they panic at the controls.”

8 Comments

  1. Common sense

    “In April Paul attended every Royal Wedding street party in Worthing and sent the resulting edition to The Queen.”
    Oh dear. Sad.
    But generally he’s right – reclaim the media!

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  2. onlooker

    Common sense should get off his/her backside and try it

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  3. Back to basics, Scottish Borders

    Back to grass roots journalism – the reason that some of us went into the industry in the first place. It’s the only way to go – small is still beautiful. I just wish I was younger – I would certainly be wanting to start my own hyper-local.

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  4. Long Gone

    Excellent work – may you and it continue to thrive

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  5. Spongebob, Long way from Worthing

    Paul’s comments about big publishers are spot on. And it’s evident from reading local papers. Too many stories about trading trouble on the High St, or the councils latest white elephant. All with a submitted picture next to it. It’s a downward curve. The gap in the market is widening for someone with a bit of creativity and nouse to reconnect with the local scene, and show the stripped-back newsrooms how it should be done.

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  6. Tony

    Yeah, all true, but good God, he gets a telegram from the Queen saying she is interested in the town’s celebrations! Great line.

    BUT, good luck to him – lets hope for a bit more authentic local community news rather than viewed through the prism of royal celebrity. Editors still think the same way about what makes news, obv

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  7. blueskies, UK

    great stuff paul. last of the quickly disappearing breed of proper local journos who know their patch inside out. The Argus misses his local knowledge.

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  8. Old Hack

    I’d like to congratulate Paul Holden on getting back to real root journalism. I did something similar in 1981 with a colleague and our monthly rural-based free thrived until it was sold some 20 years later. It then went rapidly downhill under the control of one of the big groups and was eventually closed along with others in the group. The key is knowing your patch inside out, living there among your readers. We carried only “good” news and local council issues since we didn’t have staff to provide more. It was very parochial – and yes we sent copies to Prince Charles as well as the Queen – but, do you know, the actual thrill and buzz when readers congratulated us on our efforts was worth all the midnight oil we burned writing copy. It was not my full time job – that was on a national at the time so there was no conflict of interest. Even now I’m often stopped by locals (and advertisers) who fondly remember the title and would like to see it published again ! So good on you Paul. Keep on doing what the best journalism is about – getting to the heart of the community. Something that the bean counters in their ivory towers will never allow.

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