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New titles to be launched by hyperlocal paper series

A series of hyperlocal monthly papers launched last year by a former regional daily assistant editor is set to expand with the creation of two new titles.

Filtonvoice was set up by former Bristol Post assistant editor Richard Coulter last October and was followed by Keynshamvoice, which is published by former Post ad manager Emma Cooper.

Now the series will launch its third and fourth titles in the New Year for the areas of Bishopston and Yate, while discussions are underway for two further new titles in the spring.

The team have also started a new venture with the University of the West of England in which final year journalism undergraduates will work on the titles, on pro rata pay levels equivalent to newspaper trainees.

The Bishopstonvoice title will be launched by Emma and a local businessman will publish Yatevoice, while two other former Post journalists have also joined the team.

Joni Mann, a former sub-editor at the regional daily, has teamed up with Emma for both of her titles and former Post South Gloucestershire reporter Lynne Hutchinson will spearhead editorial content for Yate.

For Bishopstonvoice, there will also be part-time paid roles as reporters for four UWE journalism students, led by Becky Day, a third year undergraduate.

Richard said the team were also seeking entrepreneurial journalists in other parts of the country who want to publish their own titles.

He said: “The ‘Voice’ model is all about ‘creating self-employment’. We are trying to show journalists and entrepreneurs that there is profit in publishing if the model is correct.

“Our tie-up with UWE is very exciting, giving the best journalism students a real outlet for their work – and being paid – while for us, we get the flexible staffing levels our model dictates.

“The hope is that some of the students will look closely at the model then possibly become publishers themselves.

“We now want others in different parts of the country to get involved. This is very much a ‘network’ organisation with each publisher working with the others rather than in competition, both editorially and in commercial.

“And we do not charge hefty franchise fees – instead it is a licence arrangement tied to the success of the publication.”

Lynn Barlow, director of creative media at UWE, added: “We are constantly stressing to our students the importance of real career opportunities in this changing media landscape and we are excited about the prospects here for our students with the ‘Voice’ series.

“Genuine hyperlocal publications with a viable business model are needed as opportunities reduce for the traditional routes into journalism.”