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New name for weekly paper after 127 years

The new editor of a weekly paper has changed its name after more than a century.

From this week, the Somerset Standard, which launched in 1886, will be called the Frome Standard.

The decision was made by new editor Bede MacGowan, who became editor of Local World’s Mid-Somerset series of titles in May.

He told HTFP he had made the decision as he felt it better reflected the circulation area of the title.

“Basically I just felt the Somerset Standard was the wrong name – as it didn’t cover the whole of Somerset, only Frome and the surrounding villages,” he said.

“We’ll have to wait and see how it goes down, but I am fairly confident.”

The new masthead for the Frome Standard, formerly the Somerset Standard

Aside from a short-lived change to the Frome & Somerset Standard, which came to an end in 2006 after just two years, it is the first major change to the name of the weekly in its 127-year history.

Bede moved from the Llanelli Star in May to become editor of the Mid-Somerset series of titles, which alongside the Standard includes the Wells Journal, Central Somerset Gazette, Shepton Mallet Journal, and Cheddar Valley Gazette.

In a comment piece heralding the move, Bede said the paper – which has a circulation of around 5,549, according to February’s ABC figures – was “Frome through and through” and “easily the most popular paid-for local newspaper in the area.”

The old Somerset Standard masthead

“Our new website is a one-stop shop for all things Frome and its audience is growing rapidly as we promote key events such the Frome Festival, the Frome Half Marathon and much more,” he wrote.

“So that’s why changing the name to the Frome Standard – and – makes so much sense.

“Why dilute our close connection with a town which has so much going for it?”

He added that the change in name was the start of a “concerted effort” to cement the Standard “right at the heart” of the community.