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Bay Life to consider partnering with Trinity Mirror Group?

In a development today (July 11), Simon Montgomery, editor of the Bay LIfe network of broadsheets said that ‘he is considering whether to bid to partner with the Mirror Group to provide local hyperlocal content”.

The Mirror Group, which has already made a tentative approach to the Bay LIfe broadsheet series of newspapers to print the papers, is to take their work with hyperlocal newspapers in the country to a new status.

In a post by the Cardiff University based Centre for hyperlocal journalism, an organisation which already has strong links with the hyperlocal Bay LIfe, the unit reports that “Trinity Mirror say they welcome discussions with strong hyperlocals on the possibility of partnering for contracts”.

In a tweet the unit adds “Trinity Mirror ‘potentially’ happy to provide HR infrastructure to hyperlocals in areas they do not cover in partnership”.

Simon, talking about whether Bay Life will end up being swallowed up by the Mirror Group, said “yes we know that we are the first such group in Sussex and yes we can see the way in which the wind is blowing with the local press

“We can see the fact that the birth of the hyperlocal press in Sussex is beginning to re-align small elements of the local press and how people perceive some of the news in print in towns and villages in the county, but no we are not about to sell out to the Mirror”.

“What is happening here in Sussex of course is beginning to happen all over the country and it is just too much fun at the moment as we build the broadsheet newspapers to consider selling out to a national group of newspapers, even a group with the sound history, legacy and contemporary credibility of the Mirror Group”.

“In the 1945 general election the Mirror Group strongly supported the Labour Party in its eventual landslide victory and of course the General Election of 2017 has created an entirely new social landscape in the country. Already comparisons re being made between the 1945 election and the 2017 election so we just have to wait and see what this new post-austerity age is to be called.

“These are early days, but of course the new age throws the role of hyperlocal newspapers across the country into sharp relief in an interesting way”.

“What is important “, he said is that ‘the value of these newspapers to hyperlocal audiences is being explored in a number of ways and what is emerging is interest and loyalty in terms of readership, we are about campaigning on local questions such as regeneration and campaigning to preserve our precious assets, this is what we do and we do these things in a way that the local press can not do and this is what we will continue to do.

“We have already proved that our hyperlocal newspapers are commercially sustainable and growing both in readership and interest from local advertisers that want to see their profiles and campaigns embedded in the community, seen and promoted directly to a hyperlocal audience”.

“Nothing in what we are doing is either rocket science or particularly original, we are just part of the re-casting of the local press and we are just a small part of that radical re-alignment that is taking place right across the country and it is no surprise to see the Mirror Group come calling.

“The national press is also going through radical re-alignment and it is no accident that they are looking to build local audience share from then ground up by explaining how they will now partner with the hyperlocal press.”

“It is about local people and the fact that in this new post-austerity age, in this small network of villages here in this little corner of Sussex, that residents, local stakeholder organisations and local businesses find a way to promote their values and business and promote the idea of the unique rural and coastal qualities of life here.

“If they can now promote these values in glorious full colour broadsheet print on a cost effective basis and on a basis that is being noticed by local people, then it is no surprise that we are seeing a take up for our offerings, and we will just carry on and do our job”.

“If in that process we can hard hit with campaigns that matter to local people, then to be able to perform this function without reference to a corporate media body, then to be honest, we see the profiles as having long term value to both local residents and businesses.

“Never say never of course, but any question of partnering with the Mirror Group in relation to our infrastructure, entering into any contractual arrangement with the Mirror Group, if we were to see such approaches, would be something that we would consider with caution.

“They have made one approach to us to print our newspapers, let us just see what they do next.

“Will we bid to partner with the Mirror Group to provide local hyperlocal content? It might sound a bit of s silly thing to say, but in a funny kind of way, the Mirror Group needs the new hyperlocal press more than we need them”.