Redundancy cheque funds Glasgow's newest weekly

By Dominic Ponsford and Hamish Mackay

A former Daily Mirror journalist launching his own newspaper this
week said there has never been a better time for journalists to “do it
themselves”.

Jonathan Russell is launching the Southside Mail in Glasgow with no more backing than a redundancy cheque.

The paid-for weekly has an initial print run of 10,000 and sells for 50p.

Russell
said: “With modern technology and some of the freelance services
available nowadays it’s far easier and cheaper to produce a newspaper
probably than it has ever been.

“Even 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do this on the budget I’m doing it on.

“There
are lots of opportunities out there if you can find an area without a
newspaper and you can do it without having to risk your house.”

Russell
joined the Daily Mirror as Scotland correspondent in 1994 and worked
there for eight years, finishing up as Scottish editor.

In June
2003 he joined the Paisley Daily Express, also owned by Trinity Mirror,
as editor – but he decided to take voluntary redundancy when cutbacks
were being made across the group in June.

He said: “I live in the
area, it’s a very affluent, busy community and it’s about the only
place in Western Scotland that does not have a weekly newspaper.”

The
Newton Mearns area covered has a population of around 50,000 and
Russell, 35, said he has no circulation target other than to build
sales week by week.

He said: “I’m confident that people buying the paper for the first time will like it enough to buy it again.”

In addition to himself as editor, Russell is employing a reporter, two advertising staff and using two freelance photographers.

He said: “It’s all local news, whether it be the community group’s next AGM right up to a couple of good news spreads.

“There’s
a lot of local sport, because that’s very poorly covered in this area,
and quite a number of general features pages like travel, motoring and
food and drink.”

The Southside Mail is being printed at Trinty Mirror’s presses at Cardonald.

Newsquest (Herald and Times) launched a free newspaper, the West End Mail, in the west end of Glasgow in June.

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