By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 07 August 2018
A new free newspaper is set to launch on the Isle of Wight later this week.
The first printed edition of the Isle of Wight Observer will hit the streets on Friday (10 August), around six months after its sister website was launched.
The 48pp weekly title will provide locals with an alternative to the Isle of Wight County Press, which was bought out by Newsquest last year and has a 90p cover price.
The Observer, which will be edited by co-owners Martin Potter and Carole Dennet, will be stocked in around 250 outlets around the island, including newsagents, supermarkets, hairdressers, pubs and other small businesses according to news editor Joe Burn, who said the organisation is aiming for a circulation of 20,000.
Burn has joined the Observer from Reach title Get Surrey, which has since been renamed Surrey Live, where he served as a trainee reporter.
He is part of a team based in Newport, in the centre of the island, that also comprises an online editor, a freelance writer, a member of production staff and a photographer.
Burn told PrintWeek: “I was looking for a step up and a new challenge and this is a unique opportunity in a unique place with a unique market. There are a lot of people here who really value printed products.
“Our aim is to deliver the detail, be lovely to deal with, get to know people on a personal level and report the stories that people will care about.
“The reaction that we’re getting from the public already has been really positive and everybody is really excited for it and wishing us well, people want to know how they can pick a copy up.”
He added: “As a free newspaper, it’s a different type of product to the County Press. We want to grow the business and we want to progress and do the best job we possibly can do for the people on the island.
“For the first time in a long time there’s going to be another newspaper to pick up on the island and another thing to talk about.”
Funded by revenue from print and online advertising, the Observer will contain news, features and opinion pieces as well as what’s on content and sports, food and drink, gardening and DIY coverage.
“There is definitely a future for print, mainly in niche areas and smaller markets where people really care about the product,” said Burn.