Tribune to battle in Islington

Tribune: 10 pages of Islington news

Free London weekly the Camden New Journal has celebrated its 21st birthday by launching a title in Islington.

The Islington Tribune will take on two more established paid-fors: the Islington Gazette, soon to be taken over by Newsquest, and the Highbury and Islington Express, owned by Archant.

Some 20,000 copies have been available at dispensers between Finsbury and Archway since Friday when the paper was launched by staff handing out copies, accompanied by a brass band.

The Tribune has its own district reporter and sub-editor and contains about 10 pages of Islington news, supplemented by shared copy from the Camden New Journal.

CNJ founder and editor Eric Gordon said: “There are similarities in terms of social composition and social history between large parts of Camden and Islington. We’ve produced a paper that combines parochial news, which I am keen on, with arty features and quasipolitical features to appeal to the more professional readership.”

Gordon was among three founders of the CNJ who bought the title for £1. They borrowed £100,000 and had paid the capital back within 18 months.

The CNJ now has a distribution of 65,000, mainly through pick-up points around the borough.

The first edition of the Islington Tribune led with a story about a City lawyer who has left his £300,000-ayear job to work for free helping the homeless. It also includes a feature by former Daily Mirror industrial editor Geoffrey Goodman and a spread on the history of Clerkenwell.

CNJ deputy editor Andrew Johnson said: “We are going to try to look at news that is relevant to people rather than keeping to the general tabloid style.

“For instance, in Camden we have done a lot of stories about social housing – no one tackles council housing because it is considered boring, but we have 30,000 council house tenants. When we recently covered plans to transfer housing to Arms Length Management Associations we had two pages of letters.”

The new paper made much of its financial independence in its launch edition front page editorial.

It said: “As an independent group, profit is not our bottom line, unlike most local papers, which are owned by big media conglomerates. Our first duty is to you, the reader.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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