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Magazine goes online only as funding row continues

A free independent community magazine has been forced to publish its latest edition solely online as it continues to seek funding for future issues.

The Salford Star, first published in May 2006, aims to be an unbiased voice for the city of Salford untouched by corporate influence.

It secured funding for early issues from various public bodies, including Salford City Council, but much of this has been lost.

Issue 9 of the magazine is now on, complete with a rather barbed attack on the city council.

It says: “We set the Salford Star up to tell the truth, to be the voice of the community, untouched by vested interests.

“Unfortunately we didn’t realise that the reaction to those truths would be so brutal…..Salford Council even re-wrote its own constitution for devolved money and ripped up our application for finance, while stuffing £175,000 into its magazine.

“Advertisers have told us that they can’t be seen to support the Salford Star for fear of losing contracts… goes on and on and on.”

Editor Stephen Kingston is hopeful that more sponsors can be found to continue the print product as only one in three Salford residents has access to the internet.

He said: “It was a quarterly until we hit the skids. It costs £6,500 to print and that’s without any wages, distribution etc.

“We could do a newspaper but that was never the idea. We wanted it to be big and glossy – something Salfordians could be proud of – and it’s always going to be free so we don’t exclude anyone.

“A total of 15,000 copies were produced and had 76 pages. The last double issue had 100 pages and we still couldn’t fit everything in.”

Last week culture secretary Andy Burnham, MP for the Greater Manchester constituency of Leigh, told the Scarborough Evening News the subject of council newspapers was at the “top of my in-tray at the moment”.

The Salford Star is a multi-award winning magazine and last year was recognised by the Plain English Campaign for its straight-talking editorial.

Donations to help keep the magazine afloat are being collected with other funds raised through subscriptions and T-shirt sales.