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News site ‘will not compete with JP title’ says founder

Bedford IndependentThe co-founder of an independent news website has claimed he will not seek to compete with existing titles on the same patch – saying instead he hopes to collaborate with journalists already working there.

The Bedford Independent is set to launch as a “hyperlocal online news desk” later this year, and launched on social media earlier this month.

The site will be run by two co-managing editors – Paul Hutchinson, former Chiltern FM deputy news editor, and Erica Roffe, founder of local arts and culture magazine Bedford Clanger.

They are joined by commercial director Julia Course-Crofts, who has worked for titles including Bedfordshire on Sunday, MK on Sunday, Affinity Magazine and the Bedford Clanger during her 20-year career.

The site’s launch follows the closure of both Reach plc’s Bedfordshire on Sunday title, and its Bedfordshire Midweek successor, in the past 12 months.

Johnston Press weekly the Bedford Times & Citizen still publishes in the town, but Paul says the new venture will “not seek to compete” with the newspaper.

He told HTFP: “We see this as a new dawn for news coverage in Bedford and one that will enhance the content already provided by hard-working news desks in the town.

“It must be made absolutely clear that, while we believe the corporate structure and direction of the large organisations owning much of the local news output in the country is to blame for the lack of news in our town, we respect and admire our editorial and journalist colleagues working ‘at the coal face’ who continue to show dedication and passion for the area.

“We do not seek to compete with them, but will instead look to work with them collaboratively, should they wish, so we can all work to the same goal, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.”

The venture has been funded by private investors, but Paul says the editorial side of the business “won’t be sensationalised or swayed by rumour”.

A printed round-up of stories from the Independent will also feature in the Clanger, which is published monthly.

Paul added: “There are, of course, some demographics that currently do not or cannot access the internet regularly. To ensure they are not forgotten, for the time being we will also be developing a partnership with The Bedford Clanger.

“This magazine is printed monthly and our pages will include a roundup of stories and other items of interest to ensure that the small number of people who have not got access to an online news desk can still access the high-quality journalism we aim to provide.

“The extra pages and income from the inclusion of these pages will also help the Clanger will also help them increase their circulation.”

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  • August 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Of course you’re going to compete with them, Paul. You’re a business, aren’t you? Best of luck to you.

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