Peckham Peculiar founders launch new crowdfunded local newspaper for Dulwich

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The entrepreneurial duo behind a hyperlocal newspaper in Peckham are to launch a new title in Dulwich, which will feature a column by Independent columnist Jane Merrick.

The Dulwich Diverter will launch in the first week in May and will be published six times a year and distributed across local businesses in Dulwich.

Its co- founders Kate White, a freelance journalist, and Mark McGinlay, a social media manager and publicist, are hoping The Dulwich Diverter will mimic the success of the Peckham Peculiar, the hyperlocal title they launched around two years ago (which also comes out six times a year) and which now breaks even.

Initially,The Dulwich Diverter will have a print run of around 8,000 copies and is hoping to attract advertisers from local businesses in the community.

White said The Dulwich Diverter would be “shining a spotlight on local interesting people as otherwise these stories won’t be told”.

She said that the South London Press and Southwark News, the local papers which cover Dulwich, “are pretty great titles but we are doing something a bit different”.

As an example, she pointed to a Dulwich themed crossword and a column by local resident and Independent columnist Jane Merrick, in which she will write about her local allotment.

White has decided to launch the new title on the back of the success of The Peckham Peculiar, which has a staff of around eight freelancers

The Peckham Peculiar, according to White, has “become quite well-established” and carries advertisement from local businesses, such as florists.

Like The Peckham Peculiar, The Dulwich Diverter is to be funded initially by a Kickstarter campaign. To date, it has raised £9,600, which is over £4.500 more than its initial target.

McGinlay said: “We love local newspapers and we passionately believe that hyperlocal news isn’t just for the internet. While social media is a great way of engaging with the local community, not everyone is online. We want our paper to be as inclusive as possible and accessible to all.”

Merrick said: “The success of the Peckham Peculiar shows that newspapers are not dying out – there is still a demand for hyper-local papers that readers feel have stories relevant to them, and so I am sure the Dulwich Diverter will be equally successful.

“Of course people want to read about big global stories, which they can access online, but they are also interested in news about their neighbourhood, particularly in areas with strong, distinctive and vibrant communities. Local and hyper-local papers have always been about keeping those communities strong, something that can’t be replicated by larger media organisations.”

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