Tindle Newspapers‘ London division has lost more than £1,000,000 over the last few months – but owner Sir Ray Tindle claims to have found the formula that will halt its decline in the capital.
In June, Tindle launched a new paid-for hyper-local title called the Chingford Times. Speaking at a lunch to celebrate its first edition yesterday, Tindle claimed the newspaper went into profit on day one.
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He had given editor Greg Fidgeon a mandate to fill the newspaper with ‘names, faces and places’– and believes this hyper-local formula will help the group launch its way out of ‘this dreadful recession”.
‘The editorial content was superb,’said Tindle. ‘Every line about Chingford and 290 Chingford faces. I’ve been in newspapers for 64 years and… I’ve never seen a better local content than Greg Fidgeon’s Chingford Times.’
Tindle hopes the wider newspaper industry will think, claiming that ‘it may, after all, be one of the very few attempts to launch a way out of this dreadful recession”.
‘In this recession revenue has fallen badly in London,’he said. ‘Naturally profit has fallen badly as well. Our newspapers have particularly in recent months collectively lost well over £1,000,000 in the capital.’
He continued: ‘We first launched attempts at hyper-local weeklies last year in the Enfield and Barnet areas. They were editorially superb but we had the advertisement rate structure wrong.”
He later described the Chingford title as its ‘best attempt yet’to find a new newspaper model that will help drive profits within the group.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: ‘It is a real pleasure to see this commitment in Basildon and a real drive to adopt business model that gives local people a high quality newspaper that they deserve.
‘It allows journalists to do what they do best and produce quality news and I hope this model can be adopted far and wide to help local newspapers once again go from strength to strength.”
She added: ‘Without journalists we wouldn’t have councillors and business people held to account and, importantly, it gives local people a voice whether the matters are big or small.”
‘I would like to say thank you to Sir Ray for his commitment to his papers and believe that by taking brave decisions such as this it will help get the industry back on its feet.”
Head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick described Tindle as ‘one of the last remaining real characters in the industry”, adding: ‘If it weren’t for people like him we probably wouldn’t be where we are today.”