This issue of Rye News is the last that will be coming to you in the current format.
No, we are not going away – in fact just the opposite. The paper in its present form has served us well since our first issue nearly five years ago. However, experience, combined with the growth and changing demographic of our readership have shown to those of us who put the paper together for you each week, the nature of some of the shortcomings from a technical and production point of view, and so now in our fifth year, we felt it was time for a change and a fresh new look.
We wanted to produce a typeface and layout that would be, perhaps, a little easier to read than at present and we wanted to be able to improve the production quality of the illustrations that accompany most of the articles. In addition, we have a developing readership outside Rye comprised very largely of people who had either visited or were planning to visit Rye and others who perhaps had friends or relatives here or were just interested in us for other reasons. We felt that we needed to cater for them by providing them with information that would demonstrate that, while certainly a lovely place to visit or read about, we are not just a collection of old houses and quaint streets. We are so much more than that, as the two big festivals of this time of year – Jazz and Arts – so clearly demonstrate. Combine that with all the other events, clubs, organisations and gatherings and as well as our history and we are also a modern, vibrant and active town.
We will now have the ability to add additional categories and pages specifically to give a view of the town as a whole: what life is like here, the many and varied places to eat and drink, places to stay, places to see, places to be active: golf, tennis, cycling, sailing and walking or just exploring our glorious countryside. All this is currently under construction and will appear in the new paper in due course.
We must also admit a commercial interest here too. Any enterprise needs money to survive and develop. So far Rye News has existed on a shoestring made up mainly of grants. But this cannot continue for ever and we need to develop a genuine income. Therefore, combined with our widening readership, we intend to become more attractive to advertisers and sponsors.
At the moment Rye News can be read in its entirety, free of charge. Many papers have a ‘pay wall’ which allows only limited access without paying. We do not – certainly at this stage – want to go down that route, although if you feel that the content you read here is worth a small contribution, there will be a facility in due course to enable this.
Setting up, or re-shaping even a small news outlet such as this one, is a huge undertaking (in fact, if we had realised how huge, we may well not have started it!) and it has only been made possible through the enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of the team here. There has been much burning of midnight oil and while it seems invideous to highlight and name individuals there are a few who have willingly allowed this project to dominate their lives for over a year of gestation. Chief among these has to be Dee Alsey who has produced a lot of the ideas and has been central to the project, giving an vast amount of her time freely and willingly and to whom we owe and enormous vote of thanks. Thanks are also due to Mark McGee, our professional developer who will be handing over to in-house computer talent in due course. And finally we should not forget the rest of the team who, in addition to their other work, have had to get to grips with, and master the technological and production changes. Thank you all.
The first issue with new content will appear next Friday morning, September 7, but we will be re-publishing this issue on the night of Tuesday September 3. So for a sneak peak of our new look, Wednesday morning (unless you are a night owl) will be the time to log in to the very best of local news outlets. Happy reading!
Photo: Rye News library