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Publisher’s former investigations chief sets up new newsletter

A regional publisher’s award-winning former investigations editor is setting up a new newsletter covering part of his old patch.

Tom Bristow left Archant earlier this year to become a fact-checker for Facebook owner Meta, shortly after the publisher was taken over by regional press giant Newsquest.

Now he is setting up a weekly newsletter for the city of Norwich promising “in-depth and independent local journalism.”

The Norwich Seeker, which will launch on Saturday, will have a special focus on the environment, housing and health.


Tom’s current role with Meta involves him finding, checking and promoting accurate content around Covid-19, climate change and news articles more generally.

He says he will be producing the Norwich Seeker in his spare time.

Announcing the launch on Twitter, he wrote: “After spending 12 years in the regional press, I want to find a new way to feature in-depth and independent local journalism.

“I’m really looking forward to starting it and appreciate any help spreading the word.”

Tom, pictured, told HTFP: “It feels very liberating to be launching this newsletter. The huge transformation of the local press over the last 15 years has left some audiences underserved and I hope that by focusing on producing quality journalism around certain topics, The Norwich Seeker proves itself to be a unique and very valuable addition to the local media scene.

“It is not seeking to break the latest news, as there are plenty of other outlets already doing that very well, instead it will look at solutions and focus on genuine problems to help people in Norwich.”

Tom goes into more detail about his reasons for launching the newsletter in a Q&A on its ‘About‘ page, describing its mission as creating “a sustainable model for in-depth, quality journalism in Norwich.”

He wrote: “Most local journalism in the UK is in a precarious state and is still being supported by a defunct financial model.

“An analysis of how and why that happened would need far more time than you or I have today, but in short with traditional revenue streams drying up – print cover prices and advertising – titles have had to resort to ad-heavy, cheap-to-produce journalism to survive digitally. That has meant a huge decline in in-depth reporting, features and investigations.

“The reading experience online is terrible on many local news sites, cluttered with ads, videos and pop-ups all of which slow the sites down and put people off reading them. The Seeker, by contrast, is hosted on a platform called Ghost which is fast to load, ad-free and gives you a great reader experience.

“We believe the decline of traditional local journalism has left a huge void for those who want more from where they live. We don’t believe people have lost interest in their cities and towns, just that the stories around them are not being told and delivered in an accessible, interesting way. Our aim is to change that.

“We believe that, when done right, journalism, especially local journalism, is a force for good. As the Washington Post’s famous strapline states: Democracy Dies In Darkness. We believe quality, local journalism makes Norwich a better place to live and benefits all of us.

“Our work initially is going to focus on problems – and more importantly solutions – in three crucial areas – the environment, housing and our health system as we believe these are the biggest challenges facing Norwich in both the short and longer term.

“We are not seeking to break the latest news but give you a more rounded, thoughtful viewpoint.”