Twelve months ago we took something of a leap of faith when we launched this newspaper. How can you possibly justify such a thing at a time when most towns are seeing their local newspaper close down? screamed the cynics. Print is dead, they declared. Everything now happens online!
And to some extent they were right, which is why the launch attracted much media attention from both the industry press to national TV.
It made good copy because it was a business decision that ran counter to market trends. But it was the right thing to do if you look at the rationale behind the launch.
It was not about making big profits. Most local newspapers lose money, a few break even and even fewer manage a small margin.
In simple terms, it was about putting something back into the community. A phrase that is easily uttered and often misused by those who devalue its coinage.
But the idea of giving back is precisely what drove the decision to publish the Times of Tunbridge Wells as an alternative media platform to what was already available in the town.
And that alternative ‘upmarket’ option has worked!
Feedback from our readers and advertisers has been incredible with more than 20,000 copies of the Times being picked up every week. Many outlets report being ‘sold out’ within a day.
As a free newspaper we rely absolutely on our advertisers – without them we could not publish. Happily they are finding use of the Times more than worthwhile. One restaurant placed an ad that resulted in bookings for 178 people. Another fish and chip shop ran a voucher that led to more than 250 extra sales.
That’s why, as we celebrate our first birthday, the staff here at the Times want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the people who pick up and read a copy each week and to the advertisers who placed their faith, and invested their budgets, in this newspaper.
Here’s to the next year…
Richard Moore, Editorial Director