Former radio journalist launches new Bedford title following local paper closures as he claims news coverage 'not like it used to be' - Press Gazette

Former radio journalist launches new Bedford title following local paper closures as he claims news coverage 'not like it used to be'

A former local radio station news editor has launched an independent news title for Bedford, with plans for a website to go live later this year, saying towns like it are “not getting good local coverage like they used to”.

Bedford Independent co-founder Paul Hutchinson said the new title will be the “modern news desk that would give the people of Bedford easy access to genuine news”.

Hutchinson – who worked at Bedfordshire-based local radio station Chiltern FM, is one of three co-owners of the Independent, which has begun publishing news items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“We did a soft launch two weeks ago and our numbers are already through the roof,” he told Press Gazette. “We’ve got more than 1,000 likes on Facebook, and we are pushing close to the same across Instagram and Twitter combined.”

Hutchinson said the Independent’s launch was prompted by concerns about the quality of local news coverage for the town of Bedford.

Bedford has one weekly newspaper: The Times and Citizen, owned by Johnston Press. The Reach-owned Bedfordshire Midweek, formerly the Bedfordshire on Sunday, closed in June this year after eight months.

Said Hutchinson: “I’ve noticed the struggle of resources that local journalism has in all its forms not just print, but broadcast too, which means towns like Bedford are not getting good local coverage like we used to.”

Hutchinson, who has been in the journalism industry for 15 years, launched the news site with former colleagues Erica Roffe and Julia Course-Crofts. His business partners co-founded “culture-zine” The Bedford Clanger.

“We were having a conversation after the Bedford Midweek closed, which sparked an idea to create a fresh news desk that’s hyperlocal and will only be covering the Bedford borough area,” said Hutchinson.

Although the Independent is backed by private investors, Hutchinson says they will not have an influence on editorial coverage.

“We are independent by name and independent by nature,” he stressed.

“People have asked if have a political stance – we don’t have one, other than our individual views. We write the facts and let the readers make their own decisions.”

Despite the closure of the popular Bedfordshire on Sunday by Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror), Hutchinson said he “isn’t worried” about launching a new title into the market.

He said: “I have the upmost respect for all traditional news desks, but in some ways the problem traditional media has is that they find it difficult to see what a modern news desk can be.

“Our overheads are very fixed because we have to pay for our web postings and our staff – we don’t have the same overheards as print media.

“We can prove how many people are reading our articles, with print and radio there’s a lot of guess work there. Lastly, we can upload news whenever, without having to wait until the print date – we can be quicker with our stories.”

He added: “Bedfordshire Midweek was never going to last and we think that was down to big companies not seeing them as a viable income stream and essentially cutting their losses.

“The Times and Citizen is still operating, but it’s owned by Johnston Press, who has hundreds of titles and it seems that Bedford isn’t in their area of priority.

“This is the problem with the way that local news is being run.”

Hutchinson said he and his team of journalists “owe it to the people of Bedford” to produce content that isn’t just “copied and pasted”.

The news site, which is headquartered in Bedford, is due to launch at the end of autumn after the team move into office space next month.

Picture: Paul Hutchinson

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10 thoughts on “Former radio journalist launches new Bedford title following local paper closures as he claims news coverage 'not like it used to be'”

  1. 24.12.20 Sworn Statements Of Fact Truth Reality.. Press Gazette. Beds. Paul Hutchinson. Journalist? Part Two. This is not about a virus.Here’s more.– Press operating in Beds. The evidence we gathered on foot Cent London accompanied by Victims of the Establ and Press Rings indicts the following Press Owners in UK- Johnston Press. Reach. How is it that the public never noticed what we found. The most frequent responses that we got from the public was – ‘Its Nothing To Do With Me’ or ‘F-off’. This attitude mirrors that of UK Police and others. What’s Mr Hutchinson doing involved with Twitter and Facebook? They have been destroying our accounts and mails for over 15 yrs. Now UTUBE Google are trying the same tricks.
    . The Google Empire at Kings Cross have sent us this message- ‘You Are Blacklisted’ That companies head apparently lists himself as riding a bike from Scotland to Cornwall and rowing boats. He is paid millions. He never noticed the anomalies throughout Scotland incl the leader of Scottish National Party (no replies). Nor the huge scandals going on in Devon and Cornwall, we mean Police. Courts. HM Coroner. Press. We now find that Google are associated with an investment firm Blackstone’s who are involved with multinational drug firms supplying drugs to Govts etc so no wonder they want us silenced. The Commissioner Mr Hogg in that area was described as a ‘Mental Health Expert’. He is in league with the Manchester Uni created Charity Age UK who do cover ups re that issue.. Hogg has now disappeared with evidence sent to him. 40 Police Officers were sent evidence and none reply.They are featured on the Internet wearing huge smiles. Its not lawful to ignore Crime Reports.The County Councils in the West Country also out of control and none of them will respond nor will sixty HM MP’s in the area. At Bristol the Govt Buildings Inspectorate wont reply re anomalies we’ve found going on in Local Govt Planning and Environment issues. The boss of the place is Genricks assistant. The Local Govt Environment Dept round here has said this- ‘We are Taking You For A Ride’. How is it that Mr Independent Hutchinson never noticed what we have found happening. Who is the journalist him or us. Independence does not indicate knowledge or insight or much else In 20 yrs we did not find one Layer. One Politician. One Local Govt or One Member Of Public or Charity or other. who can be wholly trusted. Now we are going to start exposing Beds County Council and the so called ‘Protecting Adults’ scandal. They changed the name from Social Services because of all the deaths they caused. They are still causing them. In Beds that situation is propped up by many and it incl ‘Minister’ Dorries.Yes that’s right she another ‘Mental Health Expert’ There’s more of them than there are clients. We repeat- We are being subjected to Police Violence and threats apparently on behalf of the HM Religion and Local Govt. We repeat- We now know that behind the violence is the Charity system. Lottery Board. Universities that’s why no Student will answer questions.As a Jewish Family whose relatives were killed by Soviets and 3rd Reich we can spot trends. The situation we see is a mirror image of Germany 1933 when even house wives pitched in. The voters amounted to 41000 000. Pull the other leg Mr Hutchinson? Why is the taxpayer forking out millions of pounds for ‘News’. The public read it then forget it. If we get control this country all son called journalists will be obliged to go out and remedy the things they sit writing about. We mean the ten percent of the present scandal.

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