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Former chief sub in bid to help out-of-work journalists

A journalist of 30 years who took voluntary redundancy from a daily title and launched his own business wants to help other ex-journalists do the same.

Peter Ward, former chief features sub at the Blackpool Gazette, chose redundancy during the introduction of the new Atex system by Johnston Press in July 2010.

He started Home Handbook shortly afterwards, a free business directory which features articles on local companies.

Peter says he made a profit of £24,000 in the first year and now wants to franchise the idea to other ex-journalists who may want to follow suit.

Said Peter: “Home Handbook is doing better than I could have hoped and I am now earning more than I did working for Johnston Press.

“The sight of fellow journalists, many in JP, facing the same frightening prospect of job loss has made me wonder about bringing forward the low-cost franchise I intended to launch.

“This is not chasing the next exclusive but it requires journalistic skills to give interesting and fair-minded portraits to home owners.

“I am selective about advertisers, aiming to carry decent businesses, and often go off recommendations. I only have a limited number of each category and now operate a waiting list, having turned away thousands of pounds of business.”

Peter’s first year’s audited turnover was £44,000, with £24,000 profit, after start-up costs with figures for the second year looking significantly better.

He is now willing to help out former journalists who may want to start a similar business in their area by supply a number of things including a section on his website, training on setting up the business, and a distributor.

Added Peter: “I had intended to wait longer to interest fellow journalists, but with the pace of job loss increasing, I felt I had to act.

“This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It demands hard work, but it gets easier and you have charge of your own future.  Home Handbook’s been hard work, stressful, rewarding and exciting, and can only be done properly by journalists.”

Anyone interested can log onto or call 0790 0941 207.


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  • June 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Good for Peter. Some of the commercial boys and girls might usefully notice that journalists do know how to make money. Perhaps they’ll start listening to ideas from editorial? Then again…

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  • June 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy and sometime soon I hope to see him cruising past Avroe House in a new Bentley! Way to go, Peter, you’re better off out of the dead-but-won’t-lie-down world of local papers.

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