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Former daily editor launches new weekly in town which lost newspaper

A former regional daily editor has launched a new newspaper in a town whose weekly title closed at the start of the year.

Tim Dixon, who edited the Western Daily Press from 2010 to 2014, has announced the launch of The Paper for Honiton, which came out for the first time this week.

Tim has pledged the venture will be a “boost for local journalism” in the Devon town, which was served by the ‘View From’ series of weekly newspapers until they ceased publication in January.

He previously worked for the former owner of the ‘View From’ series, publisher Peter Masters, after being recruited to head up his editorial operation last year.

Honiton Paper

In a piece about The Paper’s launch on his Newscraft website, Tim wrote: “As the financial challenges faced by many local newspapers these days clearly illustrate, it is not easy to make a print newspaper viable – but it is most definitely possible. And I hope the paper for Honiton will prove that.

“But I believe we must find a different way to fund the paper if we are going to have a sustainable future serving the town and surrounding villages. That means three important things need to happen. The community must feel the newspaper is of value to them – a community asset.

“Everyone should be invited to be more closely involved in the running of their newspaper, enjoying greater access to it, helping to write it, produce it, check and verify it, distribute it and promote it. People should feel they own their local title and that it is working for their benefit.

“Readers should be prepared to pay a modest amount for their newspaper. Local print advertising alone is unlikely to sustain a title – and why should it be expected to on its own? That seems to place an unfair burden on local businesses.”

The Paper will be priced at 50p per week, while commercial enterprises are being asked to join a ‘supporters’ club’ and pay £5 per week to help cover the title’s print and production costs.

In return for this commitment, businesses will receive a free credit card-size advertisement every week and access to heavily discounted rates for any additional advertising they require.

Tim added: “We believe the paper for Honiton can play its part in reviving traditional local news reporting – but we will need Honiton to support us all the way.

“If you share our passion to make this newspaper a genuine force for good in Honiton, please make a donation to our ‘fighting fund’.”

Tim was originally brought in as operations director by Mr Masters last July following the latter’s purchase of the Liskeard-based Sunday Independent and the ‘View From’ series.

However he subsequently left the business before the View From closures in January.

13 comments

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  • May 8, 2018 at 9:17 am
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    At the start of this year, following a buyout from the Sunday Independent using a Crowdfund initiative, Pulman’s immediately conducted a series of in-depth local surveys that had included Honiton in Devon and coastal towns in West Dorset. Regular West Country readers of Pulman’s View From newspapers were asked if they would be prepared to pay for their hyperlocal title or if they would only read it if free of charge. The survey result was pretty even. Currently Honiton are trialing the 50p model and Lyme Regis an online/print hybrid.

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  • May 8, 2018 at 10:08 am
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    Best of luck Tim: If I can ever be of help let me know: N
    o charge for first five years if you need a column: Brian Moore

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  • May 8, 2018 at 11:29 am
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    Pretty sure Archant’s Midweek Herald is still covering Honiton in a substantial manner. Never known a town go through so many local papers.

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  • May 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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    Anything called ‘midweek’ is usually launched with the sole purpose of stymying a competitor publication, a rag bag of old news, commercial puffs and cheap lift adverts,seen it happen time and again irrespective of the costs involved in doing so,so I send good wishes to all involved in this new launch,a new publisher providing a genuine news and advertising service for all the right reasons.

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  • May 8, 2018 at 1:29 pm
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    “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing,” said John Stuart Mill. Tim Dixon is an excellent and principled journalist who is clearly not prepared to look on and do nothing, and I wish him all the luck in the world.

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  • May 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm
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    By the look of the front page I think this might be a Honiton paper.

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  • May 9, 2018 at 5:11 pm
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    A local paper for local people. Are visitors also allowed to buy it, or is there nothing for them here?

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  • May 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm
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    The supporters’ club scheme sounds great value, magnanimous and – in theory – mutually beneficial in sustaining the paper and the town’s economy. But it could prove a victim of its own success, if so many companies avail of the bargain rate that their ads swamp the paper and hence each struggles to catch readers’ attention.

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  • May 9, 2018 at 9:43 pm
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    While Archie may well be accurate about other Midweek titles the Midweek Herald was launched many years ago by Jim Hall, a first rate ex Fleet Street joiurnalist who owned the Sidmouth Herald and made it a first rate local newspaper which he subsequently sold to Archant along with the Midweek. Under the editorship of Belinda Bennet it became an even better paper and was most certainly not a rag bag of old news, commercial puffs, and cheap lift adverts. It had a dedicated reporting team and some great subs.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:16 am
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    Lovely comments about my former stomping ground, BMJD, so thank you, but I seem to remember the editor after Jim Hall was Trevor Vanstone and Belinda was the paste-room manager. Both excellent at what they did. Best of luck to Tim Dixon, a top bloke, and his new venture.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 5:25 pm
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    Apologies to Echoandthebunnymen, you are right that Trevor Vanstone was the editor after Jim Hall. Belinda was some years after Trevor and edited the paper when it was in competition with the View From series. The Belinda you refer to was Belinda Dickens who was Production Manager for many years.

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  • May 11, 2018 at 10:09 am
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    Thanks BMJD – of course it was Belinda Dickens. She was good too.

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