A regional Sunday paper has taken the unusual step of inviting council leaders to sit on an editorial advisory board.
Kent on Sunday, which is not ABC-audited but claims to have a circulation in excess of 40,000, has named Kent County Council leader Paul Carter and Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers on its eight-person panel.
According to publisher Archant, board members will offer advice on whether the paper is sticking to 10 “guiding principles” set out as part of a redesign and relaunch of the paper this weekend.
They “will also be free to suggest potential topics of interest to the editorial team”.
Publisher Simon Irwin said: “The panel will tell us, at regular meetings, whether we are following our principles as well as advising us on important issues they believe we should cover.”
Among the principles outlined by the paper are: to champion causes that are important to the wellbeing of the county; to not be overly sensational; and to have an easily understood division between news, comment and advertising.
The panel also features Bishop of Dover Trevor Willmott, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Jo James, and Anne Barnes, the county’s police and crime commissioner.
The revamp of the free paper was the biggest in its 11-year history, said editor Chris Britcher. New features include a picture-led front page, redesigned arts, food and drink pages, and a new feature spread.
This weekend’s edition featured an in-depth interview with UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farrage.
“Kent is such a vibrant county. We believe this new, improved look will provide us with a platform to showcase just what it is like to live and work here,” said Britcher.
“We are all very excited by the new approach we are taking as we believe it will deliver even greater value to our readers and loyal advertisers.”
Pagination for the new-look paper will be between 56 and 96 pages each week.