HoldtheFrontPage has now been the home of UK journalism news for more than 23 years, surviving the first dotcom crash, numerous economic downturns, and even the Covid-19 pandemic.
For all of those 23 years, the site has been funded on advertising from journalism jobs, course listings and a small amount from display ads.
Despite the gradual decline in the number of regional press jobs, this business model has held good until now.
It has enabled us to publish a minimum of 30 stories a week together with a daily email newsletter, providing unrivalled coverage of UK regional journalism and the local news industry.
Latterly however, we have seen not just an acclerated decline in the number of jobs, but also a proliferation of free or lower-cost job advertising platforms that do not offer anything like our quantity or quality of news coverage.
As a result of this, we have now taken the very difficult decision to ask for our readers’ help in order to maintain our journalism.
This is not something we are doing lightly, as we are more keenly aware than most of the impact of the current downturn on journalists’ finances.
Nevertheless, as we look for a way to maintain our current level of service amid very challenging trading conditions, we believe that a system of voluntary donations could offer a possible way forward for us.
We have already reduced our costs to the bare minimum required to cover web hosting and staffing. We no longer have an office and the marketing budget – which used to help support various journalism awards schemes – went long ago.
All three of our staff – publisher Paul Linford, reporter Dave Sharman and sales executive Gary Mogridge – are now working reduced hours and it would be hard to reduce these still further without drastically impacting our output.
We could, of course, take the option of offering a reduced service, but we don’t want HTFP to become a site that is only updated occasionally.
Instead, we want to sustain it as the daily, comprehensive news source that you, our readers, have become accustomed to and we think you deserve.
It would be easy to regard HTFP as just another B2B website, but we think it performs a unique function within UK local journalism which couldn’t easily be replicated by sites with a broader remit and a wider focus.
No other website would cover a range of content that includes regional press job moves, job loss announcements, new launches and closures, IPSO cases, journalist obituaries, legal developments, newspaper campaigns and press freedom battles.
Our recent expose of a regional ‘news’ website which used fake journalist profiles and published questionable AI-generated content is simply the kind of journalism no other site would be bothered to undertake.
Putting all this behind a paywall is not an option for us. Not only would it limit response to our job adverts, but it would inevitably restrict access to what we believe is a vital source of news for people in our industry.
So if you value HoldtheFrontPage and the service it provides to journalists, please consider supporting us either on a one-off or a regular basis.
Details of how to donate via our PayPal account can be found here. We hope you will be able to help.
Paul Linford, Publisher