Archant replaces free weeklies with four-edition 'newszine'

Regional publisher Archant is closing two of its free weekly papers and replacing them with a new weekly “newszine”.

The Harlow Herald and The East Herts Herald, which will cease to be published, have this week been superseded by Scene, which will publish local editions for Harlow, Broxbourne, Hertford & Ware and Stortford.

The new titles will be edited by Barry Hunt and cover the region of East Hertfordshire and Harlow.

The four print editions will be complemented by websites and mobile versions.

Archant claims that Scene aims to “fuse the excitement and thrust of a newspaper with the glamour and comfort of a magazine”.

According to Archant, 55,000 copies of the new title will initially be distributed door-to-door, through paid-for sales, free pick-up and hand-distribution at key locations.

A business delivery service will also distribute the title and it will be made available though 41 Parish Council outlets in rural areas.

The move is Archant Herts & Cambs’ second new launch of the year, following the launch of Cambridge First in May of this year.

The publisher has recruited two extra editorial staff and three advertising personnel for the new brand, which will be based in its existing Stevenage offices.

Stuart McCreery, managing director of Archant Herts & Cambs, said: “This project was born out of necessity. The economic and multimedia climate in which we operate was challenging us and we needed to find a new way to satisfy our customers and readers in a more engaging and attractive manner. The Scene series will serve a wide audience in an innovative way.”

According to the most recent data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the now defunct Harlow Herald distributed an average of 36,227 copies each week during the first six months of the year. The vast majority of these papers (99 per cent) were free postal distribution.

Over the same period the East Herts Herald was similarly distributed for free, averaging a weekly distribution of 29,109 over the half-year period.

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