Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Dorset’s View From free newspaper series looks set to continue under new ownership

AT LEAST three parties are known to have been interested in buying the View From series of free weekly newspapers which cover Lyme Regis, Bridport, Beaminster, Dorchester and Weymouth.

The company’s founder Philip Evans announced just before Christmas that he would have to put his Dorset titles into administration and see shut them down unless a buyer could be found.

View From Publishing is based in Lyme Regis and was employing 28 people, making the enterprise one of the town’s biggest private sector employers.  

Parties interested in saving View From series and jobs:

Tindle Newspapers, famous for its stable of small newspapers – Tindle put in two offers. Tindle previously bought View From titles in Devon and Somerset.

Karl Wallace, the Bridport-based district and county councillor. He liked the idea of doing something for the community and saving jobs. He looked at the books but did not make an offer.

A mystery publishing group based near London. It is this group that is now on the verge of clinching a deal with Mr Evans.

(Speculation: Could this be Archant, based just north of London, who publish the Midweek Herald, which mostly covers East Devon but touches on Lyme Regis, and the Dorset Magazine?)

Mr Evans has NOT wished to comment on negotiations so as not to jeopardise them in any way, but he is understood to be confident that View From titles will continue publication under new ownership.

A public statement about the deal is expected later.

4 Responses to “Dorset’s View From free newspaper series looks set to continue under new ownership”

  1. Claire

    I do hope it’s not Archant – they have all the county mags in the SW (bar Dorset Life) and run them all from 1 office with barely any staff. Last year they sacked people from Dorset Magazine and started to dictate to columnists what they wanted them to write, and who to write about. I’d call that an advert, not an article. So much for journalistic integrity.

    I know that the printed word media world is suffering, but this, like oil running out, has been inevitable for years. It’s just that too many publishing moguls, like the music business ones etc, liked to spend money and not invest it in the future – hence all the bitching about the BBC website from the likes of The Telegraph, Times etc. The BBC saw that the future was web-based and digital, and invested heavily. We, the owners, are now reaping the benefit.

    Rags like View From have to ask themselves, what section of the community are they serving, and how can they serve them best? As a business owner in Beaminster I know that this paper does not bother to come and speak to us as potential advertisers and does not follow leads handed to them on a plate. When Mr Evans was questioned by myself about this he just shrugged and couldn’t really supply an answer. Maybe that’s why he’s having to sell.

    Good luck to the new owners, whoever they are. They have their work cut out to turn this around.

  2. Brian Hesketh

    View from Bridport always has a home-spun feel. You could see that by the camera contrast, and I don’t mean after exposure; the Gazette and others send along a photographer with a huge bag of camera equipment, the View From person would, on the other hand, produce a compact digital from bag or pocket. I liked that, and I hope they do manage to survive, it feels so much more like a voice of and from the community.

    Claire, you are right about the BBC. Maybe the likes of the Murdoch monarchy would see the BBC as a horse designed by committee, and to be dismembered and turned into dog food at the earliest opportunity, but that camel adapted to its environment in a way that News Corp could not. The BBC wasn’t alone mind, the Guardian also developed an early awareness of ICT, publishing both on and off-line.

    Modesty prevents me from commenting on today’s other post (friends would know that can’t be true) fair enough, I admit it, I can’t think of anything to add to your excellent piece, thank you.

  3. Horst Lindenau

    What a nonsense! I sit here in Bremen, Germany, at my desk and read this news about the Views. Looking at an issue of the “View from Bridport”, no. 162 from July 2009, I do not believe Mr Evans’ words. This issue, just 6 months ago, is very well covered with ads, and if those are not “for free” the publisher made good money with it, which is ok.
    When I lived in Bridport (over 10 years, and I come back ;-)) I always loved the Bridport News. But that was at times when capitalism, now gone wild (and I m not a communist here), didn’t have a grip on our lives, in news media too.

    The Bridport News changed from being a local-published and local-based and local-acting paper into a “nonsense paper user”. Than the View came. The media landscape then was already down in the Bridport area. And now after five years Mr. Evans sells his product, which is from my point of view not in distressed waters, but ready for sale. Ok, his decision.
    The problem is a free press in general. And that’s the bigger problem. Rather than have a free weekly paper, which can be replaced (sorry Mr Evans) any time that local people and businesses (which are the same thing) do want it. My attempt was, for example, Bridport Radio.

    • Jonathan Hudston

      Hello Horst – I am sure Mr Evans would be flattered that you took a July copy of the View From Bridport back to Germany with you!
      I think it was only in September 2009 that the economy in the Bridport area really began to dive down. Aside from the summer holiday season finishing, West Dorset’s economy is always about a year behind the rest of the country (September 2009 was a year on from Lehman Brothers crashing). So I think a lot has changed since July.
      And then of course there is always the question of how much money businesses are willing to pay to take out ads. Nearly all printed publications are in a mess at the moment – partly because of the technology we’re using to comment on things now.
      Mr Hesketh – may I say that I like your comments about cameras and the View From’s homely feel. Technology is important (as I’ve just said above), but it isn’t everything. Attitude and presence count for a lot.
      (I read a photographer’s blog a while ago which caused a stir because he announced that he was giving up buying expensive new equipment. Sure, he said, he could capture millions of pixels, but how many magazines, for example, had the budget for the paper to print high-res pics on?)

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