Local newspaper the Yellow Advertiser has been saved by its former editor who has taken it over following its closure two months ago.
Owner Mick Ferris will also edit the weekly Essex title, which will no longer appear in print, with a team of two reporters and one salesperson. In a bid to cut down on overheads they are not working from a fixed office.
When Tindle Newspapers closed the Yellow Advertiser in June, it was reported that as many as 20 staff were facing redundancy.
Ferris confirmed that he negotiated with Tindle on taking over the Yellow Advertiser brand, its web domain and digital archives, but said he did not want to discuss details of the deal further.
The title will publish rolling news online and a weekly digital edition, which Ferris plans to publish from next month.
He confirmed the paper would continue to rely on advertising for income, while keeping the website free to access rather than putting up a paywall.
“On a free paper, if you’ve never charged your readers for news, then there’s just no justification for it, really,” he told Press Gazette.
“You always get large publishers saying it’s so we can invest in journalism. Let’s face it, we all know that’s rubbish.
“Since when have the big guys been bothered about quality journalism? They’re not. They’re bothered about the bottom line.”
The Yellow Advertiser is now owned by Newshound Media Ltd, which was created last month. Ferris is listed as the sole director.
On the move away from print, Ferris said: “When you look at the cost-cutting that’s gone on across the board in the industry, the way that they’ve done it is by cutting down distribution.
“I was fielding so many phone calls – ‘why haven’t I had my paper?’ – and I thought, well if you actually don’t print it, it’s there for everybody.
“You just turn your phone on, turn your laptop on, your tablet or whatever and there it is every Thursday morning.”
Ferris, who edited the paper from 1996 to 2001 and again from 2013 to 2019, said he wants to eventually expand to add another journalist and commercial staffer to the team.
The Yellow Advertiser was shortlisted for the Local Heroes prize at last year’s British Journalism Awards thanks to chief reporter Charles Thomson’s reporting on a local “child sex ring”.
He also won the weekly reporter of the year prize at the Regional Press Awards for the same investigation, while the Yellow Advertiser paper won the “making a difference” award.
Ferris said: “[We’ve] always prided ourselves on not being scared to cover news.”