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Cameron praises print-only title on its fifth birthday

An independent weekly newspaper which refuses to put news online has won plaudits from the Prime Minister after celebrating its fifth anniversary.

The Cleethorpes Chronicle launched on March 20, 2008, just before the recession truly took hold and when many other papers were starting to make staffing cuts.

David Cameron was among those who sent a message of congratulations to the paper, praising joint owners Nigel Lowther and Mark Webb for their “entrepreneurial spirit”.

The paper’s website only features a brief history of the Chronicle, along with information for advertisers – but no news.

The anniversary front of the Cleethorpes Chronicle, featuring a message of congratulations from Prime Minister David Cameron

Nigel, who is also the paper’s editor told HTFP there was “no chance” there would be free news from the Chronicle online in the forseeable future.

“I feel very strongly about this and I get quite frustrated – why should we put all our stories online, which take a lot of effort and a lot of journalistic resources, for free?” he said.

“I just can’t see that the business model stands up. Regional newspapers in particular are wondering why circulations are plummeting, but all their stories are available for free.

“We are proving that there is a profitable business in newspapers – that there is a market for a printed product. It may be that the Chronicle goes online at some point, but it will not be until we can make a profit from it, and at the moment a workable business model just doesn’t seem to exist.”

Nigel said he was “incredibly proud” of the hard-working team and what they had achieved over the past five years.

“Our focus has been good old fashioned community journalism. We are told the only way forward is online, but our print-only product proves otherwise,” he added.

Mark said launching the paper at the start of the deep recession had, at times, meant it had not been easy.

“The cornerstone of our success has, without a doubt, been the support and belief of the ever increasing number of loyal advertisers and readers,” he said.

To mark the occasion, the paper ran a special four-page pull out featuring messages of support from readers and advertisers, with the Prime Minister’s message being featured on the front page.

It read: “Launching and sustaining a profitable, traditional print newspaper in today’s media climate is a significant achievement, and bears testament to the skill and dedication of the team behind the paper.

“Local newspapers provide a unique service to their readers and are a vital part of our democracy – explaining what central government policies mean for local communities and holding politicians to account.

“The Cleethorpes Chronicle has shown what can be accomplished when an entrepreneurial spirit is combined with a passion to serve the local community, and I wish the paper and its readers all the best in the years to come.”

The front page of the birthday pull-out


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  • March 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Each to their own, but this is quite a naive approach from Nigel Lowther. Papers like this are only destined to be left behind. Surely it’s better to ask ‘How can we make money from online news?’ rather than just burying your head in the sand.

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  • March 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Well done, Nigel! I don’t see why he should follow the foolhardy who are throwing their news online without any means of making enough money out of it. It’s good to hear a newspaper editor talking sense about how to run a profitable newspaper. I bet the Cleethorpes Chronicle will be around for another five years while others who are online won’t be.

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  • March 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    My word, you run a successful newspaper for five years without laying people off or resorting to ‘press release’ journalism or relying on ‘citizen journalists’ and still you are called naive! The question has been asked for years, yet there is still no answer… you keep on asking it S and while you are doing that, the Chronicle will just keep being a naive success.

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