A former regional journalist who swapped what he termed the “bloodbath of the UK media market” for a sunshine posting abroad is celebrating a major milestone.
Former Birmingham Mail journalist Andy Probert has just overseen the 400th print edition of an English-language weekly newspaper in Turkey.
Andy has been helping to manage Voices, which mainly serves the expat and English-language community close to the tourist mecca of Bodrum, since he quit the UK eight years ago for a new life on the Aegean .
Voices has gone from strength to strength since launching in late 2005 by Turkish journalist Hasan Bayrak, pictured left, who still edits the publication while Andy gathers the news through an extensive network of Turkish and foreign contacts.
Said Andy, 45: “We are fully integrated into the way of life and generally enjoying it here on the Aegean.
“Frankly, moving abroad was the best thing we could have done, given the bloodbath of the UK media market, falling sales and job losses in recent times.”
Voices offers eight to 12 pages of news and lifestyle information for expats, performing as much as a local newspaper would do in the UK. Its website was recently revamped, with new topics being added weekly.
During Andy’s stint, the paper has exposed multi-million pound scams, helped to raised thousands for various charities, actively supports community groups, and touched the lives of thousands of expats through a range of lifestyle and property advice.
Andy, a one-time Bromsgrove Advertiser reporter, spent 10 years as a district man in the Redditch office of the Birmingham Evening Mail and worked for PR firm Impact in Warwickshire before upping sticks and moving with his partner Sylvia for a life in the sun in 2006.
As well as his paper commitments, Andy has also freelanced for a number of UK and Turkish national newspapers.
He added: “It hasn’t been easy, but the newspaper continues to be printed and comes out on a Saturday for expats. It runs as a tight two-man operation, but the newspaper’s success is down to the support of readers and advertisers.
“In the eight years I have been here, we have seen off six or seven rival publications simply because we give the expat what they want and they remain loyal to the brand. Equally, advertisers believe in the paper and come back year in, year out.”
“While it might not set the world alight, it has become a key aspect for most expats living here in terms of keeping up to date with what’s happening in the immediate environment.”