Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Exclusive: Philip Evans on the future of Dorset’s View From newspapers


(Note added Tuesday evening, January 12: This article has been edited to reflect comments made by Toby Granville, editor of the Dorset Echo. For more details of Mr Granville’s concerns, please see below)

PHILIP EVANS founded the View From series of free weekly newspapers covering Lyme Regis, Bridport, Beaminster, Dorchester and Weymouth that have now – as he reveals below – been acquired by an un-named businessman with connections in Dorset.

Philip Evans

Mr Evans responds here to the story published on this website yesterday, which included the speculation that Archant might be buying his 5 Dorset titles.

Mr Evans writes: “As always the excellent Real Dorset blogsite is well informed but I would like to correct a couple of statements made in the piece on the demise of View From Publishing Limited.

“I can confirm that Archant are definitely NOT the new owners. The titles have been acquired by a businessman who has publishing interests (not in newspapers) and business connections in Dorset.  He is committed to continuing to develop the papers. His identity will be revealed next week after he has had the chance to meet the staff.

“Also, Tindle Newspapers did NOT make a bid for the group. Although they owned 24.7% of the equity in View from Publishing Limited, they have never had anything to do with the publishing of the Dorset titles.

“Karl Wallace […] did speak to us but, as you correctly stated, he did not make an offer.

“I am concerned to read the comments from your reader Claire. I have no recollection of speaking to her but I would be more than happy to call on her personally to discuss the situation. It would be most unlikely for me to shrug my shoulders if I thought there was a chance of any advertising.

“View From was forced into administration by the dramatic decline in advertising revenue over the past 12 months.  After a hard slog we got ourselves to break-even in four years, but then the decline started.

“All local newspaper groups have been severely affected by declining ad revenues, including Newsquest, publishers of the Dorset Echo and the Bridport and Lyme Regis News.

“They have shelved a number of jobs over the past year […].

“Another big regional group, Northcliffe Newspapers, announced last week that they were closing their Plymouth press centre, having already shut down the presses at Exeter, Bristol and Staverton with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

“Archant, too, have had to make cuts, closing their Sidmouth office and moving their production operation to Weston-super-Mare, again with the loss of many jobs.

“The Western Gazette have shed a number of jobs, moved departments to Bristol and are moving out of their Yeovil offices into less expensive accommodation.

“All of these groups have suffered greatly during the recession so there was little hope of a privately-owned outfit like the View surviving.

“I am pleased that I have found a new owner who is committed to developing the View From concept and that most of the jobs have also been saved.

“I am proud of what we achieved at the View over the past five years. If the businesses in West Dorset want an alternative to the previous Newsquest monopoly, then hopefully they will support the View papers in the future.

“No one else will ever challenge this monopoly. None of the other big newspaper groups are likely to challenge them and entrepreneurial publishers like myself are a dying – if not extinct – breed.

“The Post Advertiser monthly is already owned by Newsquest and the excellent Lyme Bay Diary is owned by Tindle. The Marshwood Vale Magazine, which is hugely popular, could end up as the only independent option in the area. Long may they succeed.

“We received wonderful support from some sections of the business community in West Dorset. Others used us to force down their advertising costs with Newsquest.

“From the hundreds of messages, e-mails and telephone calls I have received over the past few days, I am more convinced than ever that the people of West Dorset want the View titles to stay in the market and succeed. 

“The new owner has asked my wife Jackie and I to stay with the group and we hope to speak to him soon to discuss our ongoing involvement in the new company.

“Whatever happens, he will be taking on a very talented and dedicated group of employees, some of whom offered to work for nothing to keep the company going.

“I wonder how many of the staff at the Bridport News  and Dorset Echo would do the same …”

[This note was added on January 9, and edited on January 12] Jonathan Hudston writes: I am grateful to Mr Evans for this statement. He is sadly right that entrepreneurial publishers like himself are a dying breed, although not quite yet extinct. There are people in West Dorset who have been seriously discussing starting a paid-for newspaper to challenge the Bridport News, which is felt by more and more people to be inadequate.


I had it from three different sources that Tindle did bid, but I accept what Mr Evans says and I apologise for my error.

[Passage added by Jonathan Hudston on January 12] As stated at the head of this article, the text above has been edited to reflect comments by Toby Granville, editor of the Dorset Echo.

Mr Granville maintains that Karl Wallace’s interest in buying the Bridport News did not get to the stage where it was considered by Newsquest to be a serious approach. Mr Granville reiterates that, (as we have always reported), “The Bridport News is not for sale.”

Mr Granville also objects to a claim by Philip Evans that, a few months ago, Newsquest gave serious consideration to closing the Lyme Regis edition of the Bridport News. I posted Mr Evans’s comment because it tallied with an account I had been given by another source of a meeting in which the future of the Lyme Regis News was discussed. Mr Granville says he has “no recollection of this so-called meeting” and states: “Newsquest has at no point ever considered closing the Lyme Regis News”. I accept that it is mistaken to claim that Newsquest ever considered closing the Lyme Regis News.

Mr Granville’s final comments concerned a reference (by me) to how much time the Lyme Regis News reporter Adrianne Maslen now devotes to the patch where she used to work full-time. Mr Granville states: “Adrianne Maslen splits her week between the Bridport office covering Lyme Regis AND the Weymouth office where she continues to write articles for the Lyme Regis News, as well as contributing to the Dorset Echo when time allows. The reason for this is I wanted to give her some experience in a daily newspaper environment and develop her as a journalist. However, the emphasis is still on Adrianne providing a first class editorial service to Lyme Regis and, for that reason, the Lyme Regis News always comes first before any contribution she makes to the Dorset Echo.”

Mr Granville concludes: “We will continue to provide a first class advertising and editorial service to our readers. While we welcome competition to our Dorset titles, there are no other publications in the area that offer the same level of advertising expertise, editorial quality and number of readers as we do.”

As an independent blog, Real West Dorset always welcomes comment and clarification. It’s a virtue of being online that we can set the record straight in greater detail than old media have space to allow, aiding our campaign to report truthfully and fairly, encouraging debate and reflecting views from many angles. 


2 Responses to “Exclusive: Philip Evans on the future of Dorset’s View From newspapers”

  1. South west weeklies bought by unnamed businessman, says founder | Editors' Blog

    […] The Real West Dorset blog has a detailed statement from Philip Evans, founder of the free weekly newspaper series View From, which publishes titles in the West Dorset area, about the future of the group. […]

  2. South west weeklies bought by unnamed businessman, says founder | Editors' Blog

    […] The Real West Dorset blog has a detailed statement from Philip Evans, founder of the free weekly newspaper series View From, which publishes titles in the West Dorset area, about the future of the group. […]

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