The editor of a Newsquest weekly celebrating its first anniversary has said its successful first year showed “just how important having a local paper fighting for its community still is”.
The newspaper launched three weeks after 160-year-old daily title The Oldham Chronicle closed down in August last year as owners Hirst, Kidd and Rennie fell into administration.
Oldham Times content editor David Rigby, who has been with the newspaper since its launch, said the team had “big shoes to fill” after the Chronicle’s closure.
Editor Karl Holbrook, who took over last month, said: “The Oldham Times is a fantastic paper and its success in such a short period of time goes to show just how important having a local paper fighting for its community still is.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this landmark anniversary both by looking back at some of our highlights but also by looking to the future with the launch of our new campaign and some fab new platforms designed to give the print and online products a fresh perspective.”
Holbrook wants to put more focus on online content and has used the anniversary to introduce new features and a revamped format, including a new-look justice page and an eight page puzzles section.
To celebrate the anniversary, the Oldham Times is today publishing a bumper 88-page anniversary edition with a 24-page supplement looking back at the highlights of its first year.
It is also launching an Oldham’s Community Champions campaign to highlight the town’s unsung heroes.
Its first four case studies include a 12-year-old boy with serious health issues who raised thousands for charity and a woman who travels across the UK on a litter picking mission.
The weekly title is asking its readers to nominate their own unsung heroes to be featured over the next 12 months.
Rigby said it has been a “massive first year” for the weekly with “52 editions which have seen us cover every aspect of everyday life in the borough”.
“This anniversary edition will see us introduce new features and a revamped format, while retaining our core objective of bringing you the news, good, bad, funny or sad, from your area,” he added.
“I must personally give a huge thanks to our readers, contributors and advertisers for their unwavering support for our new paper.
“We had big shoes to fill with the demise of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, and look forward to an even more successful year as we strive to uphold the traditions of good, honest, and unbiased reporting.”
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, whose constituency includes the Oldham town of Failsworth, hailed the title as “a vital source of information” while Oldham mayor Javid Iqbal said he hopes this will be the “first year of many for The Oldham Times”.