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Free weekly to relaunch as paid-for title with new name

Nicola CainesA regional publisher has announced a second free weekly is set to relaunch as a paid-for title – complete with a new name.

JPIMedia has revealed the change in direction for the Brighton & Hove Independent, soon to formally become the Brighton Indy, which has been online-only since print publication was suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

HTFP reported earlier this month how the same move had been made at JPIMedia weekly the News Post Leader, which covers South-East Northumberland, another title which had print publication suspended due to the pandemic.

The Indy is now set to return in a contemporary 72-page format with a vast array of news, arts, entertainments and sports coverage.

A two-week sampling exercise will see thousands of copies distributed for free in Brighton and Hove before the £1 cover price becomes effective on 4 June.

A new lifestyle and culture section will run alongside the TV guide, covering the arts scene, shopping, food and drink, fitness, reviews, books and cinema – and a 12-page Brighton and Hove Albion FC weekly supplement will also feature.

Indy editor Nicola Caines, pictured, said: “We will be bringing readers a fabulous mix of good, strong local stories through a team of writers and columnists that live and work in the city and are positive and passionate about it.

“We want the news coverage to be uncompromising but supportive of the city, celebrating success, talking to the community groups and charities that help the vulnerable, really highlighting the community spirit that is alive and well but occasionally gets forgotten.”

Gary Shipton, JPIMedia regional Director and editor in chief, added: “Brighton is such a special place and, as we leave lockdown behind us, deserves a weekly title of this quality. This paper will be at the very heart of Brighton life and we have already heard that the community is as excited about it as we are.

“It will also provide a great platform to promote local businesses and we do hope they will take the opportunity to advertise with us.

“The advertising team is looking forward to working with all the local businesses to help support and offer advice on how to build their brands. It will perfectly complement the Indy’s terrific website.

“Congratulations to our new owners National World for putting the Indy back on the streets of Brighton – and with such flair and style.

“There has never been a stronger signal of the value of great local journalism.”