.

meeting

. .

THIS WEEK MP Huw Merriman, public meeting over closure of Pevensey Bay Library, details announced


FEATURE TIME TO LAUNCH TABLOID JOURNAL: Death of Pevensey Bay Library much exaggerated


BUSINESS POST OF WEEK: Castle Inn, Pevensey Bay: Under New Management party

Screen-Shot-2017-09-12-at-20.19.18

Bay Life the Journal, the monthly broadsheet hyperlocal newspaper, that was first published in May 2015, is planning to take a big step forward, with a print deal under negotiation with Trinity Mirror.—Bay Life, 12 September 2017

Talking about the discussions, editor, Simon Montgomery, who has helped to manage the development of the newspaper said, “the offer made to us by Trinity Mirror is to print 3,000 copies and too good for us to ignore in terms of price, we are giving the offer serious consideration”.

Trinity Mirror first made the approach to Bay LIfe the Journal to print the newspaper, over six months ago.

Major media print groups in the country appear to be looking towards small local newspapers. some of them of the ‘hyperlocal kind, like Bay LIfe the Journal to print the local news.

The BBC also appears to be expressing an interest in the hyperlocal press, which is now making a footprint across the country online, with over 400 enterprises joining the new national independent community news network (iCNN), that represents the hyperlocal news sector.

The Centre for Community Journalism in Cardiff which manages iCNN has learned that 15 community and hyperlocal news publishers have successfully partnered with the BBC to receive local news content as part of the Local Democracy Reporter Scheme.

The first part of the £8m-per-year scheme, which aims to fund 150 local democracy reporters across the UK, opened in May and publications big and small from all over the UK applied.

Editor of the Lincolnite, Daniel Ionescu said: “Stonebow Media (the company that owns the Lincolnite and the Lincolnshire Reporter) has successfully bid for access to section 1 of the BBC’s Local News Partnerships scheme. We are looking forward to section 2 of the process, in what promises to be an exciting project.”

Digital Publishing Director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, David Higgerson, has stated that Trinity is open to discussions with ‘strong’ hyperlocals on the issue of partnering on the scheme.

The hyperlocal press is now on the radar of the national print industry. What people want online and in print is changing at the local level.

Social media has changed the way in which local people receive the news. People in Pevensey Bay were sharing the news about the Birling Gap noxious haze and the effects, here on Facebook, before the news began to break in the local press.

The first hand accounts from Pevensey Bay, Normans Bay and Westham were shared between thousands of people. The press played catch up with the story for days, often quoting some of these first hand accounts.

This kind of community journalism can not be matched by either the daily or weekly local and regional press. The Birling Gap noxious haze incident is one of a number of stories that are now shared in local social media circles, like Facebook and Twitter.

Why would anyone need a local newspaper now?

The growth of the hyperlocal press is both exciting and dynamic.

The challenge online and in print is to deliver to a really local audience, news, well written articles, features, opinion pieces, the arts, culture, history, letters and independent leaderboards, exciting double page spreads, photojournalism and campaigns.

Bay Life the Journal has been offering this independent perspective to local people as a broadsheet hyperlocal newspaper since May 2015.

If we sign up for the deal, we will potentially be seeing editions for Westham and Pevensey as well as Pevensey Bay, as part of the plan.

We have already piloted an edition of a broadsheet, ‘Westham Village Voice’, which has attracted hyperlocal business advertising.

We also have a third hyperlocal broadsheet in the pipeline, ‘the Pevensey Gazette’. which will profile the historic location to a national and international visitor destination audience, both in print and online as a digital download on subscription.

Digital download subscriptions are a method of online delivery that we have tested successfully for over a year.

Talking about whether the line and content of the newspaper will change with regard to any independence and point of view, Simon said “we are talking about a print deal, and a fantastic deal for us as we will be printing thousands of copies for the first time, but that is all, nothing at all that we publish will change in terms of our independent point of view.

“I guess this point of view could be described as loosely liberal with a small l, with an emphasis on local arts, history, culture, event and business promotions, and campaigns, particularly with regard to local economic and social regeneration.

“We are proud of our mission statement that says, The Journal is written by local people. We celebrate all that is best about our communities. We debate important local questions and we campaign on subjects like the regeneration of economic activity and the preservation of precious community assets“.

“We already promote local business and services, at prices that local business can afford, with embedded feature advertising.

Our work with the independent estate agents Taylor Dain, in Westham, is an example of what we do.

“With a wholly independent approach, as well as connections with many established local businesses in and around Pevensey Bay, and the promotion of new businesses, with features that you will not see elsewhere in the local press, we believe we have a unique formula.

“With hyperlocal business advertising, again this is a strategy that we have tested over the last year.

“What is interesting about the hyperlocal press and community journalism is that the embedded approach in local communities works in just the same way with hyperlocal business advertising”.

Simon, who hopes to take up an offer of a national role with the hyperlocal press in October, says that he is still planning to be here in Pevensey Bay to help support the next stage development of the hyperlocal press in this corner of  Sussex.

He said, “we developed the first hyperlocal newspaper for any network of villages in Sussex, and I guess we got noticed by both the hyperlocal press nationally as well as the Trinity Mirror Group, so it will be nice to continue to support the critical next stage, with the print offer by Trinity Mirror”.

The final decision about the offer from the Trinity Mirror Group to print the newspapers will be made by publisher Dianne Dear, who owns the rights to all the hyperlocal newspapers and web platforms here that support the work of Bay Life.

Already, Dianne has written personally to a number of major outlets with a service base close to Pevensey Bay, with offers to feature their advertising on an embedded hyperlocal basis.

If negotiations reach a successful conclusion with Trinity Mirror, the hyperlocal newspapers here will be printed in Watford, alongside the new Guardian which after two hundred years is to go tabloid early next year.

Simon said, “maybe some of the magic of the Guardian will rub off on our little hyperlocal newspapers as the printers ink our first edition of the new tabloid Bay LIie the Journal”.

“We already believe that we have the makings of a first class 24 year old opinion writer in our midst, with the work of Danielle Lee.

“We will be approaching the BBC with their £7 million budget to invest in the hyperlocal press, to see if they would like to invest in Danielle Lee, with their aim to fund 150 local democracy reporters across the UK.

“We already have a small audience for our newspapers and some local people ask if the Journal is out yet, that is an interesting note of some description.

“With the printing being taken under the wing of the Trinity Mirror Group and 3,000 copies rolling off the press, we expect that hyperlocal audience to grow.

“Somewhat ironic that news about our development with the numbers of copies to be printed, that it is happening the day after East Sussex County announced that Pevensey Bay Library is to close.

“We understand that as the news emerged simultaneously to the press and East Sussex library administration staff at 3:00pm, yesterday (September 11) that some of the staff were in tears, with all their years dedicated service about to end and many of their jobs under threat.

“This is where we came in, in May 2016, in the wake of the successful campaign to see services restored at Pevensey Bay LIbrary.

“Printing 3,000 copies of Bay Life the Journal will make no difference to that decision, but our message will remain the same.

“Our message will stay exactly the same the Journal is written by local people. We celebrate all that is best about our communities. We debate important local questions and we campaign on subjects like the regeneration of economic activity and the preservation of precious community assets.
.
“In the case of the closure of Pevensey Bay Library, we have already prepared our first headline for the tabloid edition of the Pevensey Bay Journal”.

The headline says “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen as Winston Smith returned his copy of 1984 to Pevensey Bay library for the last time”.