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New paid-for digital title to go head to head with regional daily

Jamie HillA paid-for digital news service promising “no advertising, clickbait or stories without any relevance” is set to compete against a regional daily.

Former Swindon Advertiser chief reporter Jamie Hill has unveiled The Ink, which will serve the Wiltshire town as a thrice-weekly email newsletter.

For £5.99 per month, paying subscribers will receive a bulletin every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3pm, while a free weekly bulletin will also be published on Fridays who sign up without paying.

Jamie, pictured, is group editor of Positive Media, which runs monthly magazine Swindon Link.

A piece by Swindon Link about The Ink’s launch said the title “has set itself the task of providing the high quality journalism a superb town deserves”.

It added: “There will be no advertising, no clickbait, no stories without any relevance to Swindon produced by people hundreds of miles away who couldn’t point to the town on a map, no lists of dreary nonsense accompanied by the message that number seven will amaze you.

“What there will be are stories which are honest, measured, fearless, utterly without any form of political or other bias and completely concerned with things you care about.

“We shall demand that those in a position to change things in this town for the better do so – and we shall hold ourselves to the same standard.”

As well as Swindon Link and the Newsquest-owned Advertiser, the town is also served by Reach plc’s county-wide website Wiltshire Live and independent emergency services news website Wiltshire 999s.

In addition to news, The Ink has pledged to offer “analysis [and] a look under the bonnet of what makes Swindon tick”. Columnists include autistic journalist Tyler Ody and culture writer Jessica Durston, while subscribers will also get access to Swindon Link’s 45-year-old magazine archive.

In a speech at The Ink’s launch event, Jamie said: “Local newspapers just did not know how to deal with the rise of digital, the rise of the internet. And now, although they still have their place, the local newspaper industry is a shadow of its former self.

“In a lot of cases they’ve been forced to move out of their central locations to an anonymous industrial estate, editors now edit four or five other publications, and the number of actual journalists have been slashed to a fraction of the number that were there when I joined the industry in the late 90s.

“The main job of journalism is to inform. To let you know what is happening. To hold those in power to account. To analyse. And to raise awareness of issues.

“Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed. The purpose of journalism is thus to provide people with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.”