A local newspaper publisher has issued a vote of confidence to print by launching three new monthly titles.
Richard Coulter, who co-founded the Bristol-based ‘Local Voice’ series, insists that print “remains profitable” amid what he termed a “mad rush to work out the digital conundrum.”
The group of hyperlocal titles were set up by former Bristol Post assistant editor Richard and advertising manager Emma Cooper in 2011 and will now cover 13 different areas of the city.
The three new editions will cover the Horfield and Lockleaze, Hanham and Longwell Green, and Emersons Green areas of Bristol, bringing the total distribution to 120,000 copies each month,
Said Richard: “We are thrilled to launch these three new titles to add to our ‘stable’. Our mission has been to create high quality publications which serve a need in the community while creating work for journalists and commercial staff and also demonstrating that a successful model is possible in news.
“We never downplay the role of digital – we all have digital presence – but the evidence is there that, if done in a way which suits the readers, print is undoubtedly sustainable.
“The key for us is that our magazines are free and they are hand delivered to every household. Across the country there are successful hyperlocal magazines but in the mad rush to work out the digital conundrum, print remains profitable.”
The Voice’s licence operation sees new publishers pay a monthly fee to enable them to benefit from the group’s co-operative model.
Earlier this year, Richard attended a conference on community journalism in Cardiff, and said he was “dismayed” that its emphasis was almost entirely on digital.
He said: “The last 10 years have not been easy for journalists but we are trying to prove that, in the hyperlocal sector, journalists can make a living while working in the career of their choice.
“Our model would allow a journalist to dip a toe in the water while having a portfolio of jobs or work on the magazines exclusively.
“I do not say that our model is the only one, but journalists need to get real about digital and if there is no revenue, then it is not a realistic business proposition.”