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Editor hails ‘huge’ local news demand after 10 years in business

An editor says the success of his hyperlocal newspaper is proof there is “huge demand” for local news as his title celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Richard Gurner founded the Caerphilly Observer on 28 July 2009, and has now marked the milestone of a decade in business.

The Observer was originally launched as a digital-only operation, but has also produced a fortnightly newspaper since 2013.

The paper now has a fortnightly circulation of 15,000 and the website an online readership of almost 70,000 monthly visitors.

Richard Gurner with Caerphilly Observer

In a piece marking the anniversary, Richard, pictured, said: “Ten years ago I had a crazy idea that I’d launch a news website for my community. If you had told me back then what we have grown into I would never have believed it.

“We are a small team without the backing of a big media corporation and I am hugely proud of what we have achieved over the year. We are proof that there is still a huge demand from readers for local news and a huge desire from local advertisers to be featured in local media.

“I’d just like to thank everyone involved with Caerphilly Observer for our success. Without our readers, advertisers, and distribution outlets we would be nothing.

“I am born and bred in Caerphilly and it fills me with pride when people approach me in the street to tell me how much they love the newspaper and website. All I have ever wanted to do was produce a news service that Caerphilly County Borough deserves.”

Richard began his career on the now-defunct Caerphilly-based Campaign series in 2004, and later went on to work for Brighton daily The Argus before return to his hometown to set up the Observer.

Unbeknown to him at the time, another title bearing the Observer name had previously been published early in the 20th century – a fact he recently uncovered.

Richard added: “I have only recently found out that we are not the first Caerphilly Observer. It was by a complete coincidence that I chose the title’s name without knowing of the 1904 version.

The National Library of Wales has online archived editions up to 1919 and its records suggest it stopped printing in 1921. However, according to a book entitled A History of Printing and Printers in Monmouthshire it was still publishing around 1925.

“I would love to find out more, so if any readers can help then please get in touch.”


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  • August 8, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Local publishing done properly, well done to the team. More of this please throughout the country.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 9:50 am

    There most definitely is a demand for well written,independent, local news as publications such as this are proving right across the country.
    Hyper local newspapers, written by journalists living on the patch and supported by local businesses have become the cornerstones of local news for many communities and as a result are attracting business advertisers keen to reach their growing readerships.
    I also find it ironic that while the bigger regional groups and titles continue to lose readers and advertisers on an almost daily basis, the rebirth in community publishing was allowed to flourish by the bigger groups themselves ignoring communities thinking the world stopped a mile or two outside their city head offices,and only showing interest when either a new competitor arrived or a smash and grab ad revenue purge was needed.

    Good luck and best wishes to the CO and all the others like it across the uk, you’re the future of local news and long may you continue to thrive.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Congrats to the editor and his team in producing a qaulity paper packed with local news. Readers want to know what’s going on in their backyard and dont want rags which have the gall to call themselves ‘news’ papers when half of the publication is syndicated stuff and the local coverage is full of so-called ‘life-style’ news which is days old. Thank goodness we have the Bristol Voice hyperlocal covering most suburbs in the city.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Superb work everyone!
    Check out ‘Your Local Paper’ in West Norfolk , launched 5 years ago by a local ex regional press commercial guy, staffed by ex regional press journos and which has completely taken the entire market from the dinosaurs in the big city down the road who only took interest in the area once YLP was launched then quickly retreated once they knew there was no interest in their Norwich focused daily.
    Thousands of copies of YLP a week and stuffed to the gills with local advertisers proves there’s a ready made audience for well presented and well written local news.

    These papers are the future and bring grass roots reporting to the communities the bigger players chose to ignore but now desperately wish they had.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    One of the big advantages the new independent publishers have is they are not weighed down by the many middle management staff who’ve been in their jobs far too long and become stale and without the countless managers managing other managers whilst producing nothing of value to the business.
    Lean business models with realistic profit expectations and where everyone has a specific role all working together as opposed to the back stabbing and point scoring ( ring any bells?) found in the big groups makes for a winning working environment.

    Congrats to the Observer and all the other localised publishers out there.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    I notice it is a free paper, ie given away. Is this the future? Congrats on success though.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    The West Norfolk paper is a free Paperboy, it’s how they reach a huge audience and with so few people buying a local paper it’s the way forward. Editorial write the content the people want, the Ad reps sell the adverts that pay for it

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