New weekly claims to be in pro?t after six weeks

Independently owned free weekly Your Leek Paper is claiming it is turning a pro?t just six weeks after its launch.

The paper was set up following the takeover by Northcliffe Newspapers last year of the formerly familyowned weekly Leek Post and Times.

Seven former Post and Times staff decided to set up a rival title in the Staffordshire market town, partly funded by their Northcliffe redundancy cheques.

Based in a former printworks in the town centre, Your Leek Paper is already regularly selling 5,000 copies to the Leek Post and Times ?gure of 12,000.

Editor Gary Shenton said: “It’s been really hard work but it’s been very rewarding. What’s pleasing is, even though we are in a holiday period now, sales have been creeping up by a few hundred every week. We were originally hoping we might break even by late autumn or early winter but we are already making a small pro?t.”

The paper has increased its staff to 10 with the addition of a new junior reporter and a receptionist. It has also increased pagination from 32 to 40.

Shenton, who was editor of the Leek Post and Times for ?ve years, said: “We have made a determined effort to cover local events and it’s paid off because new people are coming to us all the time.

“I was recently asked to present the awards at the Leek Agricultural Show. It was a real honour because it is usually done by the MP or someone like that. They gave us a tremendous reception. We think we’ve produced a product that people want; it’s a basic weekly paper. We are prepared to talk to anybody, no story is too small.”

The Leek Post and Times group was bought from the Hill family for around £3m last July.

Shenton decided to take redundancy after being asked to move to the subs desk of the nearby Northcliffe-owned daily the Stoke Sentinel.

He set up Your Leek Paper along with six other investors who all put in equal shares. They included former Post and Times production manager Alan Lyford and advertising manager Jane Walker.

 

By Dominic Ponsford

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