Editors look east for new readers

Some local newspapers are catering for a growing Eastern European audience with bilingual and Polish language papers in a bid to attract a generation of young foreign readers.

The weekly Reading Chronicle, which was the first newspaper to launch a foreign language edition, with the Reading Kronika in September last year, but still suffered an 11.2 per cent circulation dip year-on-year.

The Torquay Herald, which launched a weekly Polish column written by Polish journalist Artur Pomper, remained stable in the volatile regional evening market. It had a six-monthly circulation figure of 25,153, down 0.4 per cent year-on-year. Pomper has since moved on, but he has been replaced by Polish columnist Ania Blomberg-Gahn, who editor Andy Phelan described as a ‘rising star’of the title.

He attributed the paper’s steady circulation to adding a third edition in Brixham, but admitted the Polish content was designed to reach ‘as many people as possible’in the Torbay community. However, he warned against newspapers separating communities in print.

‘Ania joined as an editorial assistant and she’s taken the column on and done a fantastic job. It runs weekly and there’s an English language version alongside as well, so local people can get a grip on what’s going on in the Polish community.

‘There is a risk of separating [English and Polish] coverage too much. We are all inclusive, I don’t just want them to read that piece of the paper on Monday; I want them to read the paper every day and be part of the community.”

The most recent foreign language edition – and the first in London – is Trinity Mirror-owned weekly the Ealing Gazette, which launched the Gazeta Polska in July was down 4.1% year on year to 12,255.

The Gazeta often alters it front page to attract a Polish audience and last week lead on the story of a Polish prince controversially building a mansion in the area. It sold around 400 copies in its launch week and the paper claims it has sold ‘significantly’more in subsequent weeks, although figures were not available.

News editor Sachin Nakrani said: ‘It’s all very well having stories in Polish but you have to have a link and an interest in the area then they care about the stories – that may take a bit of time if they came recently. If they stick around they will get a sense of belonging to the area.”

The free Gazeta z Highland, produced by the Northern Times, has a circulation of 10,000 and is Scotland’s only bi-lingual paper, with stories appearing in Polish and English.

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