A daily newspaper journalist has ditched the bright lights of Brighton to set up a local news site in his home town in South Wales.
Richard Gurner, former web editor with the Brighton Argus, has left the south coast daily newspaper to work on CaerphillyObserver.co.uk full-time after feeling that traditional media is not satisfying the need for news in the area.
He started the project part-time two years ago and since then the website has grown rapidly to rival the online audience of free weekly the Campaign where Richard started his journalism career seven years ago.
Said Richard: “Being a reporter on your home patch is simply the best job there is and I am passionate about local news and the role it plays in the community.
“Owning my own newspaper has always been a dream of mine and thanks to the internet it is now a possibility. I am naturally nervous about what the future holds and whether or not I can monetise the site with the help of local businesses, but any fear is far outweighed by the truly exciting possibility that I can establish Caerphilly Observer as part of the Welsh media.
He added: “I know the patch extremely well, and I have some great contacts. Building and sustaining relationships with businesses is the key to success.
“There is a huge appetite for news in Caerphilly, one which I believe is not being satisfied by traditional media. It is all about the end product and if I don’t come up to scratch then the site’s readers won’t return and the business community won’t support the site.”
Richard, who was running the site while being based 200 miles away in Brighton, continued: “What started out as a part-time project to enhance my web skills and to keep up-to-date with news from my home community has evolved into something with a life of its own. I wouldn’t be doing myself, or my readers, justice if I just continued working on it part-time.
“This is a golden opportunity to really make a difference to news provision in my home community and create something that is sustainable.”