Independent local news website for Port Talbot launches monthly print title

Local news website the Port Talbot Magnet is set to launch a monthly print newspaper this month.

The Welsh town has been without a local paper since 2009 when the Port Talbot Guardian was closed down by Trinity Mirror.

The Magnet launched in 2011 to “establish a replacement news service” according to director Rachel Howells.

She said: “We’ve always thought, why should a town with so much to offer be without its own local paper?

“We felt now was the right time to bring a printed newspaper back to Port Talbot and we are looking for local people to be at the heart of it.”

According to the Magnet website its journalists were out in a local shopping centre on Saturday (13 April) to start gathering stories for the title, which it is hoped will be out at the end of the month.

Before the event, when the Magnet set up a pop-up newsdesk in Aberafan Shopping Centre, the website sent out a request for local people to come to them with information and photographs.

The Magnet has also developed a new app, called Little J, in partnership with Cardiff University and We Are Behaviour, to help people submit news stories to the title.

“We hope local people will take the chance to make this newspaper their own,” said Howells.

“We know it will be a huge benefit to the town and we want to ensure everyone has a voice in it.”

The co-operative behind the Magnet was launched by eight journalists in 2009 in reaction to major cuts in the local press including the closure that year of the Port Talbot Guardian.

In 2011 they launched the Magnet, funded largely by donations from directors and interested partners.

Later that year it launched a new funding model, combining its co-operative ethic with the US 'Spot.Us' non-profit model based on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

The new model, Pitch-in!, called on locals to support the website by producing local news, suggesting stories for journalists to work on, sponsoring journalists, donating to its development fund, sponsoring new sections, carry out fundraising and volunteering.

Because it is a social enterprise and a co-operative all profits go back into developing the news service.

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