A former war photographer has launched his own fortnightly newspaper covering Dartmoor that includes columns from ex Fleet Street journalists and a pull-out visitors guide.
The Moorlander launched its first edition on Saturday with 24-pages of news, arts and entertainment along with an eight-page tourist guide filled with information about local villages and cycling and walking routes in the area.
The paper, and accompanying website at themoorlander.co.uk, is the brainchild of former Fleet Street photographer Stuart Clarke who first came up with the idea and the name some 20 years ago, before “life got in the way” he told Press Gazette.
Clarke has worked across a number of national titles from the Evening Standard to the Mail on Sunday, The Independent and Today during his 40-year career. He has covered Nelson Mandela’s election as South African president, both Gulf wars as well as the conflicts in Baghdad and Northern Ireland.
At Today he met wife and former Sunday Times writer Margarette Driscoll who now pens a column for her husband’s new paper. Other columnists include former editor of The Evening Standard’s Londoner’s Diary, Rory Knight-Bruce who is now at Horse and Hound magazine, local Tory MP Mel Stride and TV naturalist Nick Baker.
The Moorlander is put together with a team of four, including two full-time editorial staff of which Clarke is one. They print 4,000 copies of the newspaper, distributed by hand by the team to Dartmoor’s major towns and sold for 20p in shops, many of whom are giving the money raised to charity Clarke says.
He estimates the cost of launching the title to be “about the price of a small, family-sized secondhand car” and says it has been “great fun” to do.
Although he adds: “Baghdad was a walk in the park compared to this. This is a lot more daunting. You get one out of the way successfully but then you have to start work on the next one.”
Clarke says journalism “runs in the blood” after both his parents were journalists, with his mother having worked Woman’s Weekly and his father on the Sunday Pictorial and Daily Sketch.
He adds: “The support we have had has been extraordinary. Local people say they like it. They think it’s refreshing, clean and well put-together.”