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Redundant editor bounces back to launch weekly on former patch

An editor made redundant last year is to launch a new independent weekly on his old patch in a move which has seen the creation of seven new jobs.

Iliffe Media has continued its expansion by founding the Bishop’s Stortford Independent, which goes on sale for the first time tomorrow.

The new title will be edited by Paul Winspear, who edited the Herts & Essex Observer for ten years before being made redundant in July 2016 – a month before publisher Trinity Mirror closed the newspaper’s Bishop’s Stortford office.

Paul is joined at the Independent by former Observer news editor Sinead Holland, who was made redundant at the same time as him.

BSindy 1Ex-Observer photographer Vikki Lince has also joined the team along with two commercial colleagues who previously worked at the paper, while reporter Cat Barkley completes the Independent’s initial editorial team.

A total of six full-time and one freelance role have been created by the launch.

Staff at the Bishop’s Stortford Independent will be based at an office on North Street in the Hertfordshire town, while it will be printed at Iliffe’s Cambridge Print Centre.

The paper, which will be a sister title to the award-winning Cambridge Independent, has an initial cover price of 80p.

Paul, 54, had spent 33 years in journalism prior to his redundancy last year which also saw Harlow Star editor Ken Morley depart his role.

Afterwards he penned a light-hearted listicle on his Facebook page on how to depart your job with ignominy.

Paul said of his new role: “The community’s response, in terms of messages and gestures of support and goodwill, to our announcement on social media about our launch has been phenomenal.”

The launch marks the latest stage in Iliffe’s expansion plans following the launch of the Cambridge Independent last summer and its subsequent purchase of 14 Johnston Press titles in East Anglia and the takeover of the KM Group in April.

Ricky Allan, regional managing director for Iliffe Media, said: “This is a proud moment for Iliffe Media and the Iliffe family.

“The growth and investment we have made in the past year, with the acquisition of 14 former Johnston Press titles, along with the addition of the Kent Messenger group, underlines the Iliffe belief that delivering high-quality, relevant, trustworthy and entertaining local news will receive the support of the community it serves.”

Staff and supporters outside the new Bishop's Stortford Independent office

Staff and supporters outside the new Bishop’s Stortford Independent office

19 comments

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  • October 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm
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    At least someone’s got faith in print – and the value of real local news. Good luck to them.

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  • October 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm
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    Good luck folks! Great to see you standing up for what you believe in!

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  • October 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm
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    Good luck to the team. The Cambridge independent has done really well by focusing on local stories and community (unlike the rival) and I’m sure the BSI will do the same.

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  • October 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm
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    Sadly if it’s anything like the excuse for a newspaper the Cambridge Independent then we are all doomed. That paper is a mouthpiece for the councils and businesses and is a disgrace to journalism.
    I hope it works out for the BSI but sadly I am afraid it is bound to go the way of the Dodo.

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  • October 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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    Good luck to them…Iliffe certainly giving it a go.

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  • October 4, 2017 at 10:31 am
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    Clearly Socrates prefers generic listicles, live coverage of seismic events like the opening of a new Greggs and click bait with no relevance to the local area!

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  • October 4, 2017 at 11:59 am
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    I would rather a local newspaper did what it is supposed to do – fight for the little man, hold the authorities to account, report the good, bad and ugly – and NEWS. It is clear that the public agree. Anything in the Cambridge Independent can be found in leaflets and council rags in any library and that is why no one buys it or cares a fig about it apart from the politicians and councils who get a free ride!

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  • October 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm
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    Oh – and it was the Highlife family that sold the papers down the river by flogging them to Local World in the first place after massive cuts to the workforce!

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  • October 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    I think Mr Solo is obsessed with “generic listicles, live coverage of seismic events like the opening of a new Greggs and click bait with no relevance to the local area” – because that is a small part of what is happening. You can climb down from the moral high ground now.

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  • October 4, 2017 at 2:59 pm
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    Ah, Socrates. Happy to defend a company which has made dozens of great people redundant and – more importanty – has DEVASTATED successful, profitable publications for what reason, exactly? Yes, Iliffe made people redundant, but they didn’t hack off the hands that fed them and hundreds of years of newspaper history in the process. How many people work at the Cambridge News now – about five? Still, they produce great magazines…oh no, hang on, they binned those (and the staff). Great sport though…if you want people in Cambridge spending half their time writing about the Kent skittles league. The papers look lovely though…oops again, trashed the design team. But, hey. at least the staff can get a free lunch at one of the many eateries they endlessly and tediously feature – after live blogging the opening of a burger bun. And that’s ‘real’, hardcore journalism, is it? STOP PRESS! THERE’S A QUEUE AT McDONALD’S! Give me strength.

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  • October 4, 2017 at 10:49 pm
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    Oh dear, Socrates, never let a few facts get in the way of a grudge. The Iliffe family merged with Northcliffe etc in exchange for shares in Local World. No money changed hands. Which is why TM needed their shares to complete the Local World takeover. And if Iliffe made ‘massive cuts’, which adjective would you choose for the carnage TM have inflicted on the Cambridge News?

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  • October 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm
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    For the avoidance of any doubt, I am happy to say I am Sinead Corr, the news editor of the Bishop’s Stortford Independent and immensely proud to be so. What real journalist would not relish the chance to launch a newspaper in the community where they were born and raised and where they know the readers and what they want? It’s an immense privilege and I’m grateful to Iliffe for giving me this unique chance. I’m not going to dwell on the bitterness of a former colleague. I’d just like to say PRINT IS NOT DEAD.Over the past week, the BSIndie team has been overwhelmed with an outpouring of support and enthusiasm from a community sick and tired of being treated as clickbait suckers. They want informed insight and in-depth coverage of real local issues and community concerns – not generic lifestyle advice from Canary Wharf, celebrity cobblers and rolling coverage of the opening of a crisp bag. Since we published yesterday morning, we’ve had the absolute pleasure of a constant stream of goodwill, congratulations and demand for our print product.Check out our FB and Twitter if you want to know what the real readers think. We seriously underestimated how well we would sell. Nobody knows what the future holds. I’ve worked in newspapers for 30 years and over the past 10, the “next big digital thing” has proved to be last month’s cyber mistake – and still people read newspapers and care about their community. It’s far from over yet. .

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  • October 6, 2017 at 11:24 am
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    LittleDutchGirl, or Sinead, if you prefer, I love you and want to have your children. Really uplifting post. Wonder if some of the suits in the big companies are taking note?

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  • October 6, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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    I’m sure I speak for many when I wish you and the team in Stortford the best of luck Sinead and it’s great that the launch has been so successful with wonderful support from the community. In my opinion, TM’s big mistake has been putting the wrong people in positions of responsibility who seem unable to be creative and revolutionary about how they present the product online and in print and instead become a cheap inferior knock off of sites like Buzzfeed. From what I’ve seen you, and Cambridge Independent before, have used your experience of what works in print and translated that into a product which you know the local public want. There are a lot of people who want their news online though, and your clean web interface is a good start to attract that audience too.

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  • October 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm
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    The biggest problem is most newspapers have been handed down to rich kids from their parents. Back in the day, these businesses had a monopoly – no brain required. Now, they’re bricking it.

    I’d imagine the fabulists will run them into the ground, then get picked up by venture capitalists who jack up the newsrooms and cut print to weekends, with digital editions and paywalled web for the weekdays.

    The audience has never been bigger, yet this lot can’t make it work because they’re wedded to the fashionable freehadist fallacy.

    It’ll all be okay, eventually!

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  • October 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm
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    Shock forecast. Good LOCAL papers will survive. Cobbled together generic crap from handouts (JP probably best at this but TM run close) will perish.

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  • October 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm
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    At the risk of sounding like an old fogey – when I started in journal,ism in 1965 we had managements who believed in journalism in what ever form it took – today we have managements who treat newspapers as if they are no different from a tin of baked beans – a product. I despair.

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