Message from the editor

“Defying gravity” is a term applied to Wendover News by one publishing sector expert. “Newspapers like this should not exist these days. Most local print editions have been bought up by big groups. Others just gradually lost their readership and advertising to online competitors until they could survive no longer.” That commentator was our own Simon Eccles, a volunteer with the new Wendover Community News CIC, which takes over as publisher with this edition. 

Understandably, everybody is delighted that we are defying gravity, and that it looks like we will be able to do so for many years to come. So why is Wendover News different? Well to start with, we have established a new niche: we are ultra-local media (we made that term up). Elsewhere, media organisations are fighting for world domination, trying to get more money from advertisers and using every trick they can to get people to view their pages. 

Wendover News, on the other hand, first asks “How best can we serve our local community?” We address a small geographical area and talk about things that are specifically important to people who live here. Having that simple approach will help maintain our success, but getting to that has taken a lot of hard work and good luck. 

Firstly, we are a start-up, and needed capital to get us through the first couple of months of production. We could not have done that without the full support of Wendover Parish Council, which recognised our unique value to the community and provided important seed funding. This was matched by the Lionel Abel-Smith Trust , which doubled the funding from the Council. Lastly, 41 individuals contributed a total of £1,106 to us on our crowd-funder page. It wasn’t just the money; the votes of support meant everything to us. We couldn’t have done it without you.

 Other people we couldn’t have done without are the deliverers. We have 60 or so volunteers, who turn out in all weathers once a month to post copies of Wendover News through over 4,500 letter boxes. We hope they know how much they are appreciated, but if you see one in your street, please thank them again for us.

The main element in the equation is the fact that we are inheriting the goodwill generated by Jane Larkham over a period of 35 years. Since last April she has continued to publish Wendover News at her own expense, while we built the team and found our feet. Wynne Byford, Paul Hammett and Jackie Brown worked with her to help us build that capability. Jane has handed over invaluable archives, a legacy created during the publication of over 400 editions and most importantly, the relationships with literally hundreds of advertisers, past and present.

 It’s all those elements, in their entirety, which allow us to defy gravity, continue to serve Wendover and begin a second life.

April 2024


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