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enfield dispatch feb 2020Good news for everyone keen to maintain genuine local press reporting in Enfield! The February 2020 edition of Enfield Dispatch, now in its 17th month, is now making enough money through its membership scheme and from advertising to allow it to expand the number of pages from 16 to 20. This is something that the much longer established Waltham Forest Echo (now in its seventh year) has yet to achieve. It's confirmation that the social enterprise ("socent") model of newspaper publishing that publisher Social Spider has been pioneering can work.

The Dispatch and its sister papers Waltham Forest Echo and Tottenham Community Press are edited by professional journalists (who also do some reporting) and supported by a professional back office team, but draw on unpaid writers from their local communities for much of the content. The result is a smartly produced newspaper with a high news-to-advertising ratio with content by and about the people and organisations who are getting things done in the borough. And, unlike the traditional local press, whose model is clearly failing, advertising will not take up more than 50 per cent of the column inches.

Great excitement in the Twittersphere!

The Dispatch's editor James Cracknell, its sales manager @KisssKlaudia and their boss David Floyd have all expressed their pleasure at the expansion of the Dispatch from 16 to 20 pages this month. No big deal, you might think...

 

Here are all the tweets in David's thread combined using Spooler:

I want to do a short thread on this - as readers who are familiar with publications varying the number of pages they print from issue to issue may be thinking: "why are those eccentric people at Social Spider so excited about a slight increase in the size of their newspaper?"

One of our community newspapers @EnfieldDispatch has been expanded from 16 to 20 pages. This is a great achievement and I am proud of our team at Social Spider CIC. #communitynews #localjournalism #localnewspaper #success https://t.co/FLd2XYv19E

— MissKiss (@KisssKlaudia) January 31, 2020

The reason @KisssKlaudia @JollyJourno and I are so excited about this is that the #socent model we operate to publish @EnfieldDispatch @WFEcho @tottenhamcp and @Ec1Echo is based on publishing the best possible local newspapers being the focus of what we do. We love the local business, charities & public sector agencies that advertise with us - and we think it's socially useful to help them get their messages out to local people - but we wouldn't bother publishing newspapers solely to be vehicle for advertising. Our approach

... is in @johnbirdswords classic terminology "a business solution to social problem". Advertisers, by advertising in @EnfieldDispatch @WFEcho @tottenhamcp & @Ec1Echo are successfully promoting what they do - but they're also buying into & supporting much needed local journalism. Because local news is the point for us, we have a principle of guaranteeing that a minimum of 50% of each newspaper we publish is editorial rather than advertising. That means the more advertising we sell, the more local news we can report, the more we can hold power to account.. ... and the more we can give people and organisations within our communities the chance to tell each other what they're doing and understand each other better. The fact @EnfieldDispatch is now selling enough advertising space to enable us to publish some extra pages shows that this approach can work - and we hope to see similar developments with our other publications in the near future. #socent

What's in this month's Dispatch?

  • The top story is the launch of a new report into poverty and inequality in Enfield.
  • On Page 2 read why uncollected food waste is causing a stink.
  • On Page 4 find out how two community safety schemes are helping to protect local people.
  • On Page 7 meet the woman behind an affordable childminding business with added extras for parents.
  • On Page 8 local organisations are signing up to a new campaign for fairer funding.
  • On Page 13 the founder of Sophia’s Diary writes about what inspired her online platform for parents.
  • And on Page 19 Mo Faal becomes the latest Enfield Town FC player to sign for a professional club.

Issue 17 of the newspaper is now being distributed across the borough, so go and pick up your copy or read a PDF version online. You can also get it delivered to your door by becoming a member.

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David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #5210 08 Feb 2020 22:18
My concern about the 'Enfield Dispatch' is that I have only once found a hard copy (ringing wet in the rain) even though I cycle to likely places to look for one, nor has my wife ever found one on her shopping outings in the supermarkets. Is it that we leave it too late to look, or is it that distribution is not going as well we would like?

For me this doesn't matter much because I can read it online, but I'm concerned that it isn't reaching everyone who is potentially interested.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #5284 08 Mar 2020 20:33
This is just to say that my wife has found a copy of the latest 'Enfield Dispatch, and I guess that we are now unlikely to be unable to find copies of future editions. Excellent.

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