Local newspapers sit at the very heart of their communities, keeping audiences engaged, informed and connected. The past year has certainly been a testament to that. Now more than ever, during the Coronavirus pandemic, local newspapers have become an essential source of fast and accurate information. Residents look to get detailed answers to pressing questions – from up-to-date rules and regulations; the location of outbreaks; where to buy essential goods or access services, and how to support the people most in need.
In a letter of support, issued ahead of the launch of the Journalism Matters Campaign, Her Majesty the Queen said: “The efforts of the news media to support communities throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic have been invaluable – whether through fundraising, encouraging volunteering or providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable to the outside world.”
Coastal View & Moor News is a free independent community newspaper for the towns and villages of East Cleveland, Redcar and North York Moors, telling the real news and views of the people in their region.
The newspaper has been published since June 2010, and is distributed through home delivery and free pick-up in various outlets throughout the region. The paper prints 10 times a year, with a print run of 25,000 copies.
We spoke to Lynne and Steve, who own the newspaper and work tirelessly from their home to ensure they can continue to serve their communities with their continued passion and dedication.
What inspired you to take over a Community Newspaper ?
Having moved to the area in 2006, which neither of us originate from, we became involved with the local university on a research project.This gave us the opportunity to get to know the area as well as the people in it. We loved the great sense of community, and felt we wanted to contribute in some way. When we got the opportunity to take over the paper, we jumped at the chance.
Initially, we changed the name slightly and the concept, and Coastal View became Coastal View & Moor News, as we wanted to deliver into a larger area.
Coastal View started out as a ‘good news’ paper, but we decided not everything was good, and that readers needed to be informed of the not-so-good stories too. The rest is history, and Coastal View & Moor News was born.
Tell us more about the role of the newspaper within your community
People in our communities over the years had come to rely on getting local news. The Middlesbrough-based newspaper, The Gazette, tends to focus on the larger areas of the region, e.g. Middlesbrough, Stockton, Billingham, with not so much news relating to the Redcar and East Cleveland areas, yet there is so much happening here with such a great sense of community spirit. Our readers love to read about the great things happening in their own area, and we give them a chance to tell their stories. We feel that over the years our communities trust what they read in their own paper, and rely on it for information about things that happen locally.
During the pandemic, like most businesses, you had to put a temporary pause on printing. How did you adapt to this, and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
For the first time in our history, we were unable to produce a printed copy of the paper, as we couldn’t cover the costs required. As the paper is free, we rely totally on advertising revenue. Unfortunately, many of our regular and loyal advertisers were unable to support us during the lockdown periods, as they were unable to operate as they usually did. We posted our plight on social media, and many readers contacted us saying the local news was so very important to them. As a result, we decided to produce an online version. There was so much information the readers needed to know, e.g local COVID information, as well as the positive things that were still happening in the area. We still needed the advertising to help cover costs, so we literally went to organisations, like the police, the local mayor and others, asking for their support. We also contacted advertisers, who were offered prices at a much reduced cost.
Do you have a positive story you could share with us, showing the importance of Community?
To be honest, it would be so difficult to single out one particular story, but during the ‘strange times’ we are living in the positive stories have been endless. These include many acts of kindness by local people helping others during the pandemic, as well as many fundraising efforts to help those in need. Coastal View & Moor News in itself is a positive story – it is our life, our passion, and we know it really does make a difference, which makes all the hard work and effort extremely worthwhile, knowing our readers love to receive a copy.
We were delighted to welcome you back to our presses earlier this month. What do you feel are the benefits of a printed edition of the paper?
When you put out a printed version, it is easier to estimate readership, but with an online copy it is much more difficult to gauge response for advertisers. Of course, as mentioned earlier, we need advertising revenue to cover the costs. A printed version is so very important, as many of our readers do not have internet access, and so without a copy of Coastal View that they can hold in their hands and read, they have no means of getting to know what’s happening in their town or village and the surrounding areas.
If you could sum up Community Newspapers in one word, what would it be?
If you have a feature, or would like to advertise in the Coastal View & Moor News, please contact
Advertising – firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial – email@example.com
67 Guisborough Road, Moorsholm. North Yorkshire TS12 3JA
Tel: 01287 669418
Lynne & Steve Nicholls