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Journalist couple expand hyperlocal news business

A husband and wife team of former national newspaper journalists have launched an online news magazine for Cumbria.

Maurice Chesworth and Karen Morley-Chesworth decided to launch after the success of their first local news website the Eden Valley Messenger in April 2009.

The couple, who run the Chesworth Press Agency and set up business website eBusinessCumbria a year ago, say they created the site because a sustainable local news service was needed following the closure of other news providers in the area.

Both are former national newspaper journalists and established their first hyperlocal site following the closure of the freesheet Westmorland Messenger.

The popularity of the site led to the development of The Lake District Messenger in April 2010 and eBusinessCumbria later that year.

Said Karen: “The success of eBusinessCumbria highlighted the demand for a countywide service but with a hyper local content.

“We decided to bring all three services under one website to provide not only a local news service but also an opportunity for rural communities to promote their events and activities to a wider Cumbrian audience and also promote their tourism and business opportunities further afield.

“As well as the website we also currently produce three weekly e-magazines for the business community, the Eden Valley and Lake District. We aim to expand our e-publications to include new magazines for people in Carlisle, West and South Cumbria in 2012.

“With the demise of Border’s TV’s studios in Cumbria and the threats to BBC Radio Cumbria we believe the need to create a sustainable local news service for rural communities is more vital than ever.

“With low demographics and a large geographical area, Cumbria has not attracted the media investment of more populated areas, but the demand is even greater for news in the more isolated areas of the county. These are the communities we are aiming to serve, with a sustainable business model based on sponsorship from businesses with an economic interest in Cumbria.

“The website is also providing targeted marking for local, regional and national businesses in and around the region.”