Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Crowdfunding bid launched to save axed weekly news series

A media and marketing director has launched a bid to revive a series of weekly newspapers which shut last week with the loss of around 20 jobs.

Duncan Williams, left, has started a crowdfunding campaign following the closure of the ‘View From’ series – which serve towns in Dorset, Devon and Somerset.

The series has ceased publication, resulting in around 20 redundancies, less than six months after the titles were bought by Truro City Football Club chairman Peter Masters in July last year.

The purchase followed his buyout of the Liskeard-based Sunday Independent earlier in 2017.

Duncan is a commercial development consultant with News Group Ltd, and runs Dorset-based marketing service the Poole Post.

He is aiming to raise £85,000 by 3 March to buy the ‘View From’ titles and take them into community ownership.

In a pitch to potential investors on his crowdfunding page, Duncan said: “This is very sad news indeed for Dorset and the south. Local newspapers are the voice of our communities. In this era of ‘fake news’, brands that have over a 100 years of reporting creditably should not be lost. We now have a whole county dominated by American owned media giant Newsquest.

“In addition to Dorset, View News faithfully covered stories in the counties of Somerset and Devon for many years. Highlighting local interest stories and helping to profile small businesses in these areas, View News and Pulman’s Weekly News are trusted and respected brands. Too good to lose.

“We are proposing new community ownership business model. And in doing so we aim to prove to the city banks, venture capitalists and advertising agencies that regional communities value their local media.

“It offers a chance for local people to have a real stake in and to share their views and voices as part of their own local media group.”

The newspapers affected by last week’s closures are the View From titles based in Beaminster, Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Seaton, Honiton and South Somerset, and the Pulman’s Weekly News which is based in Axminster.

A spokesman for the Independent said last week: “Having acquired the titles out of administration in July of last year we agreed to continue publishing the loss-making titles for six months in a bid to give continued employment for the staff.

“But in the light of continued falling revenues, we have reluctantly decided that the titles are no longer sustainable.”

Report by David Sharman for Holdthefrontpage.co.uk


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