A hyperlocal news website is going into print with the launch of a free fortnightly newspaper.
Journalist Richard Gurner will launch the Caerphilly Observer as a 16-page tabloid newspaper next month after running the news website since 2009.
He is making the move thanks to a European Union-funded business grant from Caerphilly County Borough Council, which will help fund the first four editions, and the newspaper will cover the whole of the council area.
The title will compete against Newsquest’s Campaign series, which publishes a free title for Caerphilly, Ystrad Mynach and Bargoed, where Richard started his career nine years ago before moving to work at Brighton’s The Argus.
He said: “When I returned to Caerphilly in 2011 to work on the site, after setting it up while I was living in Brighton, I said it had long been a dream of mine to own my own newspaper.
“That dream will be fully realised next month when we launch our first edition. Publishing a fortnightly newspaper will be hard work, but I am convinced it is the right move.
“The response to the website we’ve had from readers and businesses alike has been overwhelmingly positive, but the question they keep asking us is when are we going into print? We decided to satisfy that demand and I’m thrilled to be fulfilling a life-long dream.”
Richard said the Observer website attracts an average of 50,000 page views and 20,000 unique visitors a month.
The print edition of the Caerphilly Observer will have a circulation of 10,000 copies and will be distributed in shops and newsagents for readers to pick up.
Richard added: “Caerphilly County Borough doesn’t have a newspaper dedicated exclusively to the entire area and it is this gap in the market that we will be addressing.
“The goal for Caerphilly Observer is to create a sustainable, locally-owned media that our readers can be proud of.
“Despite huge traffic numbers that we can be proud of, there are still large parts of our community unfamiliar with Caerphilly Observer. A print edition will expand our audience and grow our brand to reach people not already online.”
The Observer will receive funding to help produce its first four editions from Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Caerffili Cwm a Mynydd Rural Development Programme Partnership, which is partly funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.