Around 3,000 copies of the first edition of the weekly paper were distributed to newsagents in the market towns of Crook and Willington and villages to the west of Bishop Auckland on Friday, and editor Adrian Braddy says it is selling well.
On Friday the paper’s new offices in Crook were also officially opened, with newspaper owner Lord Barnard and cabinet minister and local MP Hilary Armstrong joining staff and local dignitaries for the celebrations.
Editor Adrian said the aim was to sell 1,000 copies of The Wear Valley Mercury in its first week, and that early indications showed they would beat this target.
He said: “It has been very well received. I was pleased to receive a call at 8.45am on Friday from a newsagent who had sold out – which wasn’t bad going to say they opened at 7am.
“Newsagents have been selling well and we’re hoping this will continue.”
The first edition of The Wear Valley Mercury has 12 pages, and is the same shape as the Teesdale Mercury, which is midway between tabloid and broadsheet, but has a more modern design.
Adrian said: “We have deliberately tried to make it look different to the Teesdale Mercury.
“It is a completely different product but some newsagents will stock both as there is some overlap and we didn’t want to confuse people.”
The Wear Valley Mercury has three of its own staff in Crook, overseen by Adrian and deputy editor Naomi Bunting.
It is produced at its own offices in Crook and then sent to be printed at the company’s own presses at Barnard Castle.
It will be on sale for 32p every Friday. The Teesdale Mercury is published every Wednesday.
Prior to publishing the first edition, the Mercury launched a marketing campaign which saw 15,000 leaflets go out to homes and 5,000 promotional beer mats sent out to local pubs.
A team from the two papers were also at the Wolsingham Show for two days and gave out leaflets and car stickers to potential readers.