Bristol-based hyperlocal newspaper network grows to 15 titles in five years with launch of two new monthly publications

A Bristol-based hyperlocal newspaper franchise has expanded to add another two new titles making a total portfolio of 15, all of which have been established within the last five years.

The St George and Redfield Voice and Thornbury Voice, launched this month, are the newest monthly titles in the Local Voice Network which began with one title in 2012.

Co-founder Emma Cooper, who set up the the group with Richard Coulter after both left the Bristol Post, said it looked set to expand yet further and was now a well-known brand in the area.

She said: “In Bristol now, somewhere and somehow, people would have seen a copy of one of our newspapers.

“We have been approached by other areas and we wanted to prove that the model worked. It’s working really well and it is highly sought after. Moving forward we might expand again.”

Cooper said of starting the network: “We realised that there was something missing in the local market. People want to know what is happening within their areas and that was not readily available.”

Newspaper titles are licensed from the network for a fee – from £50 a month upwards, according to its website – with six publishers running the 15 titles between them.

Cooper said paper staff and publishing companies were largely local, adding: “We need to know what is happening in our area.”

The St George & Redfield Voice had a print run of 8,000 and a door-to-door distribution of 7,500 in its first month, according to editor Phillip Bird.

He told Press Gazette the paper “will only get bigger over time”, adding: “We are part of this hyperlocal presence and it was about local news with local advertising and local people.

“There’s a growing trend to localise news here and fill the gaps left by regional newspapers.”

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