How to start a local newspaper

Helping local newspapers get off the ground is something that we’ve always hoped would happen at Newspaper Club, so it’s great to see The Bedford Clanger, a newspaper designed to blow the cobwebs from local news in the Bedford area, come to life. The editor, Erica Roffe, told us how and why she got it started.

The Bedford Clanger masthead

It’s very easy to become negative about your town, especially when the local newspapers seem to report only bad news. That’s why we started The Bedford Clanger.

The Clanger is a community newspaper dedicated to promoting the music, art, culture, people, places, independent shops, bars, pubs and restaurants that make Bedford such a great place to live.

With Sunday supplements, the Guardian Guide and Time Out as our inspiration, we set about creating a format that would work for us. We chose a traditional newspaper layout as it suited our content, but we have attempted to contemporise it by using creative photography or illustration to accompany each article.

We chose Newspaper Club to print the Clanger as the price, convenience and speedy delivery ticked all our boxes. Our contact, Anne, has been a huge source of knowledge and reassurance throughout the process – we really couldn’t have done it without her!

The launch of The Clanger took place over the first weekend in June and the response has been phenomenal. Through various recent events and initiatives, a community spirit has been awakened in our town, and The Clanger hopes to capture this feeling and share the joy.

The Bedford Clanger has been totally funded by advertising, but we have restricted this to ‘enhanced listings’ featuring a logo, website and contact details and just 20 words of text. The advertising only features on the listings pages, so doesn’t detract from the editorial content. The result is much more modern and visually striking than other local paper display advertising and as a result we have received ad revenue from businesses that traditionally don’t use print as an advertising medium.

We hope that through the support of local businesses we can maintain The Clanger as a monthly guide to Bedford. The layout and design are by no means perfect and they will develop as we learn more about the medium.

With the third issue on the presses as we speak look out for FREE copies of The Bedford Clanger in independent shops, hair salons, businesses, bars, clubs, pubs, coffee shops, libraries, The Corn Exchange and Bedford Tourist Information Centre. Limited availability, so grab yours while stocks last!!

Posted by Anne | Comments (2)

Filed under: Newspaper Stories

2 Comments

  1. Mon, 15 Aug 2011 at 3:59 am
    Barry Seward Permalink

    That is a fantastic story. I am looking at doing a very similar paper in Spokane Wa and was wondering if you had any tips on lowering the initial investment. I am most concerned with the cost of newspaper racks.

  2. Mon, 5 Sep 2011 at 2:41 pm
    Tom Permalink

    Hi Biz, I’m not sure we’ve got any tips I’m afraid. But if you find out the best of getting it up and running, do let us know.

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