Tindle Newsapers today announced the launch four new newspapers for London.
The move comes just weeks after Trinity Mirror killed off seven newspapers in the South East of England including the long established Reading Post, Harrow Observer and Surrey Herald.
The London Weekly News is a new title covering the centre of London. The other launches see the revival of defunct titles: the Westminster and Pimlico News (first established in 1857), the Kensington News (est 1869) and the Chelsea News (est 1857).
The titles are being produced by existing Tindle editorial staff in London, but the company plans to recruit more journalists of the titles are sucessful. They have a combined free distribution of 26,000 which is a mixture of home delivery and pick-up from shops.
These titles will appear as the London Weekly News, which will be distributed in the centre of London and in part be aimed London’s millions of tourists.
They will also appear in their own boroughs as revived editions of the old local papers for those areas.
Joint managing director of the new group Philip Evans said: “The staff have shown tremendous enthusiasm for this project. We don’t think it has ever been done before and it certainly took a great deal of effort.
“The original idea and planning came from the Chairman, Ray Tindle. He and Vice Chairman Wendy Craig put the proposition to Karen [Sheppard, joint MD] and myself. We have brought it to life.
“We know the risk perfectly well but I am excited about it as it’s such a positive move. Trying to solve our problem by increasing local revenue is much better than solving it by more cuts.
“Central London, Kensington, Westminster and Chelsea are excellent areas for both big news and big shops and I can assure you it has strong and active communities.”
Karen Sheppard, MD of South London Press, said: “Publishing a new newspaper is always exciting but this particular one, right in the heart of London, had unique difficulties for us at first. It was hugely rewarding in satisfaction, however, as we conquered the problems one by one.#
“The staff involved threw themselves into it and they have loved the challenge.
“Planning the approach to organising an entirely new paper plus resuscitating three old ones hasn’t been easy but we have done it.. If it works, it could help all our other papers in London.
“Using staff this way with a chance of replacing lost revenue must be worth trying – and its exciting, too. I’ve spent many years in local newspapers but this has
been the biggest challenge of my career. The staff are right behind us.”
Sir Ray Tindle said: “Philip and Karen and the staff have done a tremendous job. They have exceeded my expectations and Wendy [Craig, Tindle board member) and I are well pleased with what they have produced. The papers are magnificent, particularly bearing in mind we only gave them four weeks from our first mention to them of the project.”
He added: “These new papers can now be added to the 19 new local weeklies we have launched since the recession started. We have also bought about 20 other local titles in those same six years. The new ones bring the total added since six years ago to about 43.
“The object was to try to replace the lost national advertisement revenue with new local revenue. It has certainly worked in most cases. This London launch, of course, could only be by way of an experiment. Whatever the outcome, however, everyone can see that the staff of TNL are continuing the six-year battle against recession by taking this further positive step.”
“Weeklies, in my opinion, have a great future publishing local news in depth.”