Local journalism is not what it was. In many cases, it’s not there at all.
So, in an attempt to rectify the poor coverage of Brightlingsea by the existing local press, I launched Brightlingsea Info.
I’ve been a journalist on a wide range of publications since 1979 – newspapers, trade titles, consumer magazines and more. My career began as a cub reporter on what was the East Essex Gazette in Clacton, and worked on the Essex County Standard and Evening Gazette.
in the early 1980s, the Clacton office where I worked had eight or more reporting staff – from beginners to time-served seniors – a couple of photographers, a dedicated editor, and a local advertising team. The paper was published by local publisher.
Now, that office is long gone. The paper is now owned by an American media corporation. Production takes place at the other end of Essex. A small number of reporters cover big areas that they don’t live in. There’s little local knowledge.
With few if any local reporters, news coverage of towns like Brightlingsea suffers. Local councils go unchallenged. Court cases aren’t reported. A host of good news never sees the light of day.
Social media has become the news source of choice for many – but that often means rumour is treated as fact when it is anything but.
I was convinced that there were still people out there who wanted ‘proper’ local news – factual, opinion free and underwritten with local knowledge.
That hunch has been borne out. Brightlingsea Info now reaches thousands of readers every month who either read our articles on the website or see them on social media. It is, unquestionably, the best source of information about the town.
It isn’t, however, the ‘day job’. It’s taken hundreds of hours work to get it to where it is now – building the web site, sourcing stories, writing them up and taking pictures – all unpaid. It’s a labour of love, but one that I know is appreciated.
However, it was never intended as a one-man band. You can help make it better by adding your events to the Brightlingsea Calendar, listing your business in the Town Directory, sending us pictures, writing articles, or just picking up the phone to let us know what’s going on.
It’s been quite a journey so far – but there’s plenty more to come. If you appreciate the work that’s gone into the site, you can help cover some of the costs involved (nothing is ever free!) by donating a few pounds.
Thanks, and thanks for your support,
David Bridle, Editor