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Publisher issues vote of confidence in print with three new titles

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,

Emersons Green Voice, one of The Voice's new editions

Emersons Green Voice, one of The Voice’s new editions

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.”


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  • October 24, 2016 at 8:25 am

    This kind of hyper hyper local publication certainly has a place in todays local media world as is being proven across the country.
    With the once bigger players having lost sight of locality and having dumbed down to the extent where juniors and “curators” seem to be in the majority and where a relaince of reader supplied snaps and content is the norm,any new publication which focusses on true community news has a future.
    As long as the staff have the contacts and knowledge of the areas,the content is of sufficient quality and distribution is controlled the readers and advertisers will follow.
    Sustainable ad revenues are key and rather than discount to fill space as many groups are doing the local businesses will pay a fair price to reach their potential customers.
    My very best wishes for continued success to all concerned in this positive new venture

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  • October 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I have worked for these types of magazines – indeed even edited a couple – and, good as they are in delivering local news, they are lukewarm if not neutral in supporting or challenging any local issues for fear of upsetting their advertisers.
    It is this paralysis in monitoring incidents of social injustice that is undermining the power of the local press as watchdog and, therefore, local democracy.

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  • October 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    “get real about digital and if there is no revenue, then it is not a realistic business proposition.”
    SEE Ashley…TOLD YOU SO!! 😛

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  • October 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Two points to ‘Citizen’

    First, I actually don’t think you are right on this. (Maybe the ones you edited were as you describe)
    Second, in our media bubble we sometimes forget that people are not endlessly obsessing on who we can stitch up but instead just want some reliable local information to help them lead their lives.

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  • October 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    suebrown – You are right, of course, “people are not endlessly obsessing on who we can stitch up” and it would diminish the whole process if that were all we did.
    However, the term dumbing down is oft quoted here and while it may be used pejoratively it is a short cut for lightweight news and infotainment.
    The more we go down this route the more we lose sight of why we are the observers of social issues and why authority must always be challenged.

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  • October 25, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Unburdened by corporate overheads news entrepreneurs will always find a way of getting an audience and making money from it.
    Good luck to them in teaching the big boys a lesson, just as the frees did back in the 90’s
    It is back to the future
    I hope they build a god business and sell out for millions

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  • October 25, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Back to Citizen
    First… where’s your evidence that hyperlinks are lightweight?
    And all a bit ironic on the day a so-called bigger player splashed on a new KFC!!!

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