Several papers have been closed in recent years, such as the Washington Independent in the US in December. Another paper across the Atlantic that found itself getting the axe was the Worthing Sentinel. Paul Holden, who had been editing the publication since 2000, found himself out of the job. In response, he created a monthly magazine that has found success and has already published four issues, according to Press Gazette.
After The Sentinel fell victim to owner Newquest/ Gannett's cuts, Holden received hundreds of emails and calls from disappointed readers who enjoyed the unique publication. According to West Sussex website Doctor WatsOn, it had "an eclectic mix of fascinating articles on people, places, events, buildings and the history associated with the area." Holden decided that because he had been writing and editing the paper by himself, he would recreate the publication on his own, writing the ads, delivering the paper, and collecting the money.
The decision seems to be paying off.
Because several people were upset when The Sentinel became a weekly publication, Holden decided to go back to its monthly roots. With a new name, The Worthing Journal, and glossy pages, The Sentinel was reborn.
The magazine costs £1 per issue or £11 for the year, which is 12 issues. Although he originally planned on distributing the magazine by himself, a group of former Sentinel readers offered to deliver the publication for free, Holden told HoldtheFrontPage. A growing number of newsagents, cafes, community centers, pubs, and shops have begun selling the publication since its inception. A full list of the outlets is available here.
Advertisers have shown interest since the very first publication. Holden said, "I had only a few weeks to sort the first edition and therefore decided to limit it to 32 pages, but immediately found myself turning advertisers away because there was no space left, which was obviously daft. Now it's 48 pages, which will get bigger as the year progresses."
The publication is making a profit. "I'm more than covering my costs," Holden told the Guardian. "I'm actually making money on every issue." Thousands of issues have been sold so far.
Holden thinks other publications can learn from his publication. "The Journal proves, in my opinion, that hyper local publications serving the community rather than shareholders are the way forward. If these big newspaper groups offer you redundancy, take it, and set up on your own. You won't look back!"
For the magazine's continued success, Holden has made a vow to readers of the publication on the site. "I promise to relentlessly campaign for, and champion, Sunny Worthing, the best and most underrated town in England."