A controversial newspaper designed to be largely made up of user-generated content has published its first new-look edition.
Friday’s relaunch issue saw around 66pc of the content made up of UGC, after local schools, groups and individuals were invited to become key contributors.
The project, dubbed “the Bourne Experiment” generated lively debate on HTFP when first revealed last month and, if successful, could be rolled out as a new model for other small, weekly newspapers in the group.
Mark Edwards, JP editorial director for the Midlands and group editor of the title, came up with the idea with his editorial team.
He said he is delighted with the new ‘people’s paper’ and the warm reception the concept has received.
“Our community has always contributed to The Local but we wanted to open up the door even further and allow more readers to provide features and content on the topics they are interested in,” he said.
“Our journalists have worked closely with our hand-picked group of contributors to ensure standards are maintained and we are thrilled with this first edition – it has a truly fantastic community feel to it, which is exactly what a local paper should be.
“The Bourne Abbey Primary School page, for example, is engaging and covers school life to a depth that we simply could not manage using our conventional newsroom approach.
“The project will evolve over the coming weeks as more people are trained on our content system but we couldn’t be happier with our official ‘launch’ edition and want to thank the people of Bourne for their tremendous support.”
Richard Parkinson, MD for Johnston Press Midlands, added: “This has never been an exercise in cost-cutting – this was in idea that stemmed from our local news teams who identified an opportunity to simply give our readers more of what was already proving so popular.
“This has been really embraced by our customers – including our local businesses – and we’re looking forward to getting feedback as the project evolves and develops.
“We are still covering important news events and local issues, as you’ll see from today’s lead story, and our teams are as active and committed in the local community as ever.”