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"Website belongs to our readers"

The Matlock Mercury has relaunched its website – and it’s getting ten times more hits than its sister papers in the Derbyshire Times Group, says delighted editor Don Hale.

Originally launched last December, the site has gone for a brighter design, more news and sports reports, more colour pictures and more interactive features.

Mr Hale has also appealed to readers to keep in touch with ideas for further improvements.

“It’s not our website – it’s theirs,” he said.

The new site gives visitors three opportunities to vote – usually on issues of national news, local news and local sport.

Mr Hale believes the site has been boosted by coverage of his long-running campaign to overturn the conviction of Stephen Downing, who has served 27 years in prison for the murder of Wendy Sewell. In one week it had 13,000 visits.

A Stephen Downing section is to be added to the site.

But Mr Hale does not believe that the newspaper is becoming less important

“I think the two work together hand in hand,” he said.

“The website is only a summary – some of the highlights of the week’s events. But there will always be a need for the local paper, although it might eventually change from its existing form.”

You can visit the website here at

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