Monday, 7 August 2017

Neath Guardian, a symbol of our times

In an article for the i newspaper last month, Simon Kelner revealed that it was the printed Neath Guardian which gave him the start on a distinguished journalistic career. Kelner was the editor of the Independent between 1998 and 2011 which included, in my opinion, the peak years of the newspaper. He writes:

I started my career on a local paper in the South Wales town of Neath, a vibrant, industrious community. The Neath Guardian was a respected chronicler of the town’s activities, and was a brilliant training ground for young journalists. But, over the years, as advertising revenues declined, costs were cut, quality suffered, and inevitably circulation dwindled. The paper became a freesheet and then, in 2009, ceased publication.

The title had a brief revival online, courtesy of the people behind the Neath Ferret (see side-bar) and unconnected with the Western Mail who own the print title, but the site has not been updated for the last three years.

Kelner's article was triggered by the retirement of Sir Ray Tindle ("something of a hero to most journalists"), chairman of Tindle Newspapers Limited.

In his empire are Journals, Beacons, Tribunes, Echos*, and the like, and they are all united by a common purpose: to serve their respective communities. “I see a greater need for our local press than I have ever seen in my 80 years or so connected with this business,” Sir Ray said in his valedictory statement. “Local news in depth is what people need.” [...] Unfortunately, there are very few people like Ray Tindle around, who, in this era of fake news, are prepared to support these increasingly essential instruments of local democracy.

* including the Glamorgan Gem group which includes the Bridgend and Porthcawl Gem.

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