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Regional publisher launches new upmarket titles

A family-run newspaper company has launched two free titles in partnership with a magazine firm as it continues to expand its publishing operations.

Editorial content for Tunbridge Wells on Saturday and Tunbridge Wells on Sunday is being provided by existing staff from parent company KOS Media while commercial operations are being run by The Magazine People.

The two new weeklies are sister titles to Kent on Saturday and Kent on Sunday, which are based in Ashford, and are heading towards their third editions this weekend.

Kent on Saturday/Sunday have a county-wide remit so the new papers will focus more closely on the borough of Tunbridge Wells along with neighbouring towns and villages.

There will be some content sharing between the four papers but editor Chris Britcher told HTFP the two new titles are effectively standalone newspapers.

He said: “Saturday will be lighter in its news focus whereas the Sunday paper will be much more traditional, like Kent on Sunday, with weightier news such as health, education and big stories on public spending.

“Talks behind the scenes about this have been going for some months, if not years, but realistically things didn’t really get moving until about a month before we launched.

“So far things are going OK – we’ve launched in a tricky financial market but we see a requirement to serve the west of the county far more than we have done previously.

“We’re trying to make it clear to readers there’s a difference between us and the Kent and Sussex Courier by deliberately avoiding the ‘cat up a tree’ stories.

“We’re not going head-to-head with them, we’re just trying to offer something different for the weekend.”

In addition to the new titles, Kent on Saturday/Sunday have launched new ‘west editions’ which are distributed in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and the Weald.

Chris was formerly the editor of Kent on Saturday and KOS Media’s YourLocal series of free weeklies.

Joining him on the new titles are chief reporter Jenna Pudelek, formerly a senior reporter with Kent on Saturday/Sunday and deputy editor Jon Coates, ex-news editor with the YourLocal series.

The trio is based in the offices of So Tunbridge Wells magazine, which is owned by The Magazine People, in Tunbridge Wells.

In April, KOS Media brought out two new editions of the YourLocal series for Deal and Sandwich, creating up to six new jobs in the process, and revamped and relaunched the Kentish Saturday Observer as Kent on Saturday.

It followed this up a month later by adopting a part paid-for, part free model for the previously free Kent on Saturday and Kent on Sunday.


Cagey (04/11/2009 09:28:02)
I am sure the Kent and Sussex Courier will be delighted to be dismissed as a ‘cat stuck up a tree’ paper!

David F (04/11/2009 09:37:10)
I don’t understand how the Archant owned Kent on Sunday are described as a family run newspaper??

HTFP Editor (04/11/2009 10:11:26)
David F – Kent on Sunday is owned by KOS Media, not Archant.

Cat up a tree (04/11/2009 11:09:35)
I find that remark cattist and I’m not coming down until you take it back…or someone gets me some nice prawns from M&S

Wilbur (04/11/2009 15:08:55)
Good to hear of new titles starting up. Far from stories about cats up trees, I think they should have a feline beast to keep an eye on the team in the office!

FAST WOMAN (04/11/2009 15:15:12)
David – just a little research would have told you that innovative KOS was set up by former Adscene, Kent Regional Newspapers and Trinity Mirror Southern executive Paul Stannard with Ian Patel (an ex TMS editor in chief) as editorial director.

observer (04/11/2009 22:25:54)
KOS Media is a good business and I wish them well.

xnewspaper (05/11/2009 11:18:38)
So Archant have nothing to do with Kos????

cat up tree (05/11/2009 12:49:06)
Archant have been rumoured to have been supporting KOS for sometime but ostensibly it’s a family business

xnewspaper (05/11/2009 14:34:23)
Interesting!!So who owns The Magazine People?

Sammy B (16/11/2009 21:30:11)
Chortle! For “deliberately avoiding cat up tree stories” read “understaffing a newspaper to the point where it has to rely on sticking big headlines on press releases rather than actually going out and reporting about what’s going on within the local community”. Never heard so much rubbish in my life!

James (17/11/2009 13:01:35)
Offering something different? If you call whacking a police press release warning about the dangers of trick or treating on your front page, or having an “interview” with the outgoing council chief exec where she says of her “sorrow” (but in fact when you read the story she only has one quote) on the front page – then yes they are offering something different – i.e. awfully different.
what a load of guff from this paper – read it the other day and its press release after press release. good job its free because i wouldn’t pay a penny for it.