16 April 2024

A new era

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now!

Zoe and I own this paper. Blimey. It’s a challenge that’s daunting and exciting in equal measure, but we both believe in this little publication and we are passionate about the community it serves.

Because it’s our community. We live here.

I think a lot of people see newspapers as faceless and unaccountable – and that, sadly, is because many of them are these days.

The vast majority of dailies and weeklies have been bought out by huge corporations that don’t have the community’s best interests at heart. How can they, when many are produced miles away from the places they serve?

We can’t claim to be a massive, powerful company, we’re not perfect, we make mistakes like everyone else in any job, and we most certainly can’t be everywhere because we are a very small team. I mean – very small.

But what we do have, I’m pretty sure, is a whole lot of goodwill from our network of amazing correspondents, as well as the wider community who can hopefully see what we’re trying to achieve.

Many would ask what the point of a newspaper is in the 21st century. I’ve said this before but I still believe they have a place and that print is not dying, it’s being killed off in some quarters.

As the internet becomes ever more a bin fire of propaganda, hatred and scamming, I think print is still seen as a more trusted medium. I saw a stat recently that said one large company’s digital advertising revenues had dipped 15 per cent in a year, whereas print was only down two per cent.

I accept print is not for breaking news any more. But it can deliver a more in-depth analysis after the event that lends itself far better to sitting with a cup of tea and having a good read, as opposed to aimlessly scrolling and skimming on your device (do you really, properly take things in on a phone or tablet?).

Yes, I’m probably old-fashioned, but hey – kids are into vinyl and cassettes these days, so things come and go. And, yes, we may have an older readership – whom we desert at our peril.

On the front page we mentioned innovations – last week we launched a digital edition (click HERE to sign up), and we are also developing a website shop and online business directory. We may well evolve our audience as time goes on.

I just hope there is a generally positive reaction to what we think is really positive news. I guess there might be the usual reaction from the keyboard warriors who manage to tell us in the same breath that the Gazette is both a terrible paper but they’ve not read it for years.

We do read comments like this on social media from time to time and, while we’ve grown thicker-skinned in recent months, it’s hard not to take some of them to heart.

So, if you have constructive suggestions as to what you’d like to see in these pages – PLEASE let us know! We really do want to hear from you. It’s YOUR paper, too.

For now, as this week’s front page starts to hit the streets with mine and Zoe’s faces plastered all over it, I’ll just go and hide under a rock for a while, if it’s OK with you…