Journalist meets public official in coffee shop. It’s like an episode of House of Cards.
But this was just a simple Saturday in Bury St Edmunds and I’m not quite the hard-nosed reporter who is likely to get pushed under a train for uncovering any damning St Edmundsbury council secrets. Well, not that I’m aware of...
But this simple act of trust between an elected official (with information I would love to have access to) and a journalist encapsulated everything that’s important about local journalism. There was trust, openness and a keen interest in making sure our beautiful town is preserved for generations to come. There was also some decent coffee, too.
Across the world and in the UK, media companies are battling to keep stories, views and pictures fresh and relevant to all their readers and consumers in whatever format is wanted: print, web or social. Long gone are the days of pushing out a Bury Free Press on a Friday and waiting a few days until starting the next one. News is 24/7 and so are the demands of readers – with that, comes a huge challenge for publishers to champion local brands such as the Bury Free Press and our sister titles in Haverhill, Newmarket, Sudbury and Diss.
This week (see New owners for BFP), the Bury Free Press changed owners. I had worked for the previous company since 1999, just a few years after it was bought from EMAP.
In those 18 years, much has changed. The internet has come along and altered the landscape of news and its very delivery – but what hasn’t changed, and what that chance coffee house meeting proves, is that local people in local towns care about local issues.
I’m really enthusiastic about our new owners Iliffe Media and their past history tells me that the Iliffe family care about communities and newspapers.
Rest assured, your Bury Free Press is in safe hands as we enter this exciting brave new world and I look forward to taking you on an exciting new journey to make your favourite paper even brighter.