At a time when pundits are predicting yet more consolidation in the regional press, theindependent and locally-owned Cleethorpes Chronicle is celebrating publishing its 100th edition today.
The weekly was launched in March 2008 and has defied the recession by already expanding its reach beyond the Lincolnshire seaside town.
The Chronicle is edited by Nigel Lowther, ex-Grimsby Telegraph deputy editor, and managing director is Mark Webb, former managing director at Grimsby and Scunthorpe Newspapers.
Together they had almost 40 years experience in the regional newspaper industry before deciding to go out on their own.
“Most people within the industry thought we were crazy to launch a newspaper against established, nationally owned competition, and gave us anywhere between 12 weeks and six months," says Webb.
“What we did not know was that, only months after we launched, the country would find itself in the midst of a deep recession which clearly impacted on our plans.
“It’s been quite a journey over the last two years but we have more than survived, and are trading strongly.
“The key to our business has been accessible, value-for-money advertising rates and a real commitment to the community and businesses we serve. It really makes a difference when the owners of a newspaper actually live in the town it serves.”
Circulation of the paper has grown to 11,000 copies per week, on a part-paid for, part free model.
The last paid-for weekly to distribute in Cleethorpes disappeared more than 30 years ago.
Lowther said: “People doubted whether Cleethorpes could sustain a weekly paper editorially and we felt that, if nearby towns with smaller populations could justify a weekly, then Cleethorpes and its surrounding villages could.
“We fill it with names and faces every week and we pride ourselves on going back to good, old-fashioned community journalism. It also helps our experienced team live in the area and the paper is written and edited in the heart of the community it serves.”
Future plans include a new approach to online publishing, becoming members of the Newspaper Society and expanding reach to even more areas in North East Lincolnshire.
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