A publishing company is aiming to buck the trend of newspaper closures by launching a new ‘quality’ weekly in a South East town.
The Times of Tunbridge Wells will hit the streets in March with a print run of 30,000.
The new free title is being published by One Media and Creative UK group, which already publishes So Tunbridge Wells and a number of other lifestyle magazines in Kent and East Sussex.
The 64-page paper, which aims to provide “a unique, new media platform for readers and advertisers,” will be available each Wednesday at newsagents, railway stations, supermarkets and shops within a 10 mile radius of Tunbridge Wells town centre. Teams of hawkers will also hand out copies.
The launch comes in the wake of the closure of several titles in the Berkshire and West London areas because of falling revenues.
Richard Moore, editorial director of One Media said: “We aim to buck the trend and show that there’s still a viable market for the right local weekly.”
“During the six years we have been producing So magazines we have got to know the local market and the needs of readers and advertisers extremely well. We have identified a niche in that market and believe the new title will be well received.
“There is still, in our view, a vital role for the right kind of local paper that can be viable and make money. To make that happen, though, you have to break the mould and get away from the more traditional approach to a local paper and that’s what we plan to do.
“Our intention is to focus on a very tight area in and around Tunbridge Wells and to saturate that area with copies of a quality newspaper that has serious local content reflecting the businesses and culture of the town. We won’t be looking for cats up trees.”
The paper will go to print Tuesday night and will be available from six o’clock the next morning.
Added Richard: “This gives us the opportunity to carry not only current local news and features, but also national and international news, which makes us unique. Commuters, for example, can get everything in one hit and it’s free.”
“We are not in this for the short term. We are committed to creating a quality local newspaper that becomes part of the social fabric of Tunbridge Wells, and achieving that will take time.
“We are, however, confident that this is exactly what will happen, given the resources allocated to the development, production and distribution of the newspaper.”
One Media is part of Markerstudy Leisure, which in turn comes under the umbrella of the Markerstudy Group.