Regional publisher Newsquest has today launched a new title in its Journal series to serve a dedicated local community after celebrating a record readership for the Salisbury region in April.
Salisbury Journal editor in chief Bill Browne told the SoE that Covid-19 had had ‘no impact’ on the paper’s ability to bring news and information to readers as he announced the new Vale Journal serving the communities of Blackmore Vale on the Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset borders.
The third-oldest publishing regional weekly paper today revealed that during the pandemic journalists have seen ‘a readership and audience grow to a number that far exceeds anything the Journal has ever achieved before, with a weekly reach of 160,000 in April.’
Launching the Vale Journal, Browne paid tribute to the important community of Blackmore Vale – which sits in the middle of the Newsquest titles in the region – and whose loyalty has been rewarded in receiving a dedicated local title. He told us the new Vale ‘in many ways completes the jigsaw in print and online coverage.’
Writing in the first edition of the title today, Browne gave a nod to the remarkable history of parent paper the Salisbury Journal, which first was distributed in the region in the 1700s.
After revealing that the Journal has been uninterrupted in its print run since 1736 – weathering two world wars and a General Strike – Browne added it was ‘with no surprise’ that Covid-19 was a battle that could also be overcome for journalists.
The introduction to the new edition read:
“THE JOURNAL is back in place and ready to serve the inhabitants of Shaftesbury, Gillingham and the residents of the Blackmore Vale. Our newly titled Vale Journal is an edition dedicated to a region that is rich in news and community spirit. And for those who have known us for a long time, the truth is the Journal has never gone away, having first distributed in the region in the 1700s. The Salisbury Journal remains the third oldest regional weekly newspaper still in publication and it was first established in 1729. It has been in uninterrupted weekly print since 1736. Two World Wars and even a General Strike have failed to bring it to a halt. So, it is perhaps with no surprise that Covid-19 had no impact on us bringing news and information to our many valued readers. Our journalists have met the current crisis with a determination that has served our part of the media profession well over three centuries. Their reward is to see a readership and audience grow to a number that far exceeds anything the Journal has ever achieved before, with a weekly reach of 160,000 in April. We know there is a thirst still for trusted local news and that is why we have made the decision to produce a dedicated local edition of the Salisbury Journal for you. We hope in turn you will share your items of news with us. Welcome to the Vale Journal. We look forward to hearing from you.”
Bill Browne Editor-in-Chief Salisbury Newspapers.