A well-established reporter with over 25 years of experience working in Fleet Street has decided to quit London and set up a print new local newspaper in his hometown of Ilkeston in Derbyshire, England.
Lawrence Hatton, who served at the Daily Mirror and The Sun as sub-editor, launched the Ilkeston Inquirer earlier this month. The paper is a free, 28-page monthly tabloid covering the latest news, sport and events from around the town that has just under 40,000 residents.
After taking voluntary redundancy from The Sun last year and returning to Ilkeston, he was contacted by the editor of the Ilkeston Life, an existing local magazine, for advice on paper layout.
"After kicking my heels for months as a retired newsman, I was starting to actually miss my old trade," Hatton said.
"I got together with my brother David, himself a retired businessman, and we cooked up a plan to launch a proper paper with local news. The Ilkeston Inquirer was born." The two brothers named their publishing company Eyup Me Duck Newspapers, a nod to the colloquial East Midlands greeting.
Hatton added that local people in Ilkeston deserved a hyperlocal paper that reported on news that matters to them, explaining that the local paid-for paper, Ilkeston Advertiser, mostly features news serving Chesterfield, 25 miles away.
"Ilkeston people have absolutely zero interest in what happens in Chesterfield, and they are not fooled by simply putting an Ilkeston story on the front page of what is effectively a paper for somewhere else."
Despite the problems that other local publications across the country have faced, Hatton is optimistic about the future but admits he is not expecting to earn loads of money from the project.
"My brother and I both pumped some money into the newspaper in anticipation of making a loss from the first few issues, but we’re actually not far off breaking even on the print costs, which has come as a surprise to us," he said.
"Not only have people not really had a local paper in Ilkeston for years, businesses here have not had a decent place to advertise. We aim to fix that."
He is also confident that local people will help support the paper to ensure it survives and thrives.
"So far, the community is right behind us, with many locals wanting to contribute to the paper.
“With the Ilkeston Inquirer, we reckon our town can get a much-deserved boost.”
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