In the issue of November under the heading ‘Campaign’ the Rye and Battle Observer exhorts its readers to purchase the paper every week. The reason for urging readership support is given as the need to contribute to the cost of training afforded to new journalists.
However, it is clear that this ‘use it or lose it’ type message is a reflection of the financial predicament of Johnston Press, which owns the I newspaper and the Scotsman as well as a range of local newspaper titles. The Company was recently placed into administration and has now re-emerged as a debt-free entity known as JPI Media.
Possibly JPI Media may have been thrown a temporary life-line by the announcement that the BBC is funding a scheme for ‘local democracy reporters’. Also helpful may be the pledge by Facebook for whatever reason to donate £4.5m to fund 80 local newspaper jobs for the next two years.
What is evident is that without ongoing public support, the Rye and Battle Observer faces an unsustainable future. We have some sympathy with its campaign for increasing readership. We share its aims of bringing news into the public arena for information, entertainment, social and cultural purposes. Where Rye News wins is in its ability to speak from within the community it serves.
However, Rye News also needs more readers – not to boost revenues, because we make no charge for publishing to our subscribers and online readership each week. We have a growing circulation and with our hard copy pages in the monthly Fixtures, we are proud of our capability of reaching into 10,000 homes throughout Rye and District.
However, our continuing success depends very much upon our readers’ and advertisers’ support. We stand in need of new volunteers, preferably with skills to offer, but a working familiarity with IT can be built upon with training. We especially need one or two more sub-editors and an advertising co-ordinator, prepared to give four or five hours each week.
Working with colleagues, and being creative is a highly rewarding experience. Maybe, you are ready to accept a new challenge, develop your journalistic talents and play a fuller role in the community?
If so, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Credits: Rye News library.