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New weekly to launch in 'reverse-publishing' project

A new free weekly newspaper is to launch in Cheltenham next month as part of a multi-media “reverse-publishing” project.

The title will include the best content from its sister website, which will be updated every hour, and there are also plans to broadcast some content on local radio.

Compact, a name which reflects its A4 shape, is the brainchild of Justin Mafham, former commercial director of Gloucestershire Media, which publishes the Cheltenham-based Gloucestershire Echo.

He says the relationship between the paper and its website will be the opposite to that of most regional publishers, which tend to be “protective rather than pro-active”.

He told HoldtheFrontPage: “The paper will include the most up-to-date content from the website, but the website will be much more in-depth, with analysis, links and comment.”

Compact will also share news content and advertising with Cheltenham and Stroud radio station Star FM, which Justin says will allow it to offer clients “a complete marketing mix”.

He said: “Our motto is ‘in-print, online and on air’.”

Once up-and-running in Cheltenham, it is also planned to launch Compact in other nearby towns.

He said: “Cheltenham is a good place to start, I know the market and the competition very well – I used to be it.

“We’ve built the website in a way which will allow us to roll out across a number of towns, but I can’t divulge where yet.”

Compact will launch in Cheltenham on April 20 and will be delivered door-to-door to 30,000 homes each week.

The editor in chief is Justin’s father, Colin Mafham, a former night editor of The Sun who is now a football writer for newspapers such as the Daily Express, The Star and Non League Newspaper.