A former regional daily assistant editor now running a successful hyperlocal monthly title has declared his faith in the future of print.
Richard Coulter started up monthly free newspaper filtonvoice in the Bristol suburb of Filton after leaving the Bristol Evening Post in 2010, and has since helped launch a sister title, keynshamvoice.
He told yesterday’s Society of Editors regional conference in Manchester that he believed print products had a future so long as they were delivered in the right way.
Richard also argued that his hyperlocal publication offered local advertisers a better deal than online platforms as it is guaranteed to reach every household in the patch.
Said Richard: “I don’t think people have fundamentally rejected the concept of print. Print has a future as long as it’s delivered in a way the audience wants.
“What I tell advertisers is that if they want Filton people I can guarantee they will all get it . You can’t guarantee that on the web.”
Other hyperlocal pioneers who addressed yesterday’s conference included Ken Bennett, a former Fleet Street staffer who launched free monthly the Saddleworth Independent at the age of 69.
He said: “It’s not new what I’m doing. It’s what we were all trained to do – give people news about their communities.”
The conference also heard from Mike Rawlins, editor of Stoke on Trent based politics website PitsnPots.
The site has become one of the best known sites of its kind in the UK, winning grant-funding from the Journalism Foundation, but asked how it would make money in the future Mike replied: “I don’t know.”
Both Mike and Richard questioned the commitment of established titles to political coverage, with Mike contrasting his word-for-word report of an MP’s maiden speech with The Sentinel’s shortened version.
Richard added: “I go to all town council meetings and I’ve usually been the only reporter there.”