A weekly that says it was “slaughtered” for not being a ‘real newspaper’ when it first launched is set to celebrate its first anniversary.
HTFP reported last year how three former Hartlepool Mail staffers – news editor Steve Hartley, picture editor Dirk Van Der Werff and newspaper sales manager Paul Healey – had launched Hartlepool Life, along with two businessmen, after the idea was conceived at a monthly get-together of ex-Mail employees.
Editorially, it focuses on good news about people, businesses and schools in the Hartlepool area. and was slated for “seeing life through rose-tinted spectacles.”
But since its launch, Hartlepool Life has taken on 18 people, including journalists, and is now distributed at 200 locations.
Dirk told HTFP: “We are going from strength to strength after a roller-coaster ride over the last 12 months.
“We were slaughtered online as not being a ‘real newspaper’ by ex-colleagues and other journalists. We were ‘happy clappy’ and ‘seeing life through rose-tinted spectacles’. Well, we’re still here.
“The public love our positive outlook – and the advertisers do too as their products and services are not up against doom and gloom and negativity, or one punch knockouts and crack-cocaine trials.
He added: “We are employing many experienced journalists now – and advertising staff – and have also given four journalism degree students in the town and surrounding area jobs too.
“None of them had ever been employed as journalists after qualifying up to two and a half years ago. Some are freelances, some are working for two or three days a week as staff.”