New Kid on the Block

The Pembrokeshire Herald, is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with amongst local newspapers in West Wales. In dealing with matters which others might ignore and speaking out on issues which affect the local populace, it is gaining a reputation for being altogether more assertive than we have come to expect from the press in this neck of the woods. Alongside this its take on the arts, and sports, along with excellent presentation all of high quality must surely present a new and attractive prospect for advertisers and for readers too.

For many years The Western Telegraph, has been the generally accepted source of local news for a population which stretches from Milford Haven to the borders of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. There are other smaller locals, Tenby and Milford have their own, and there are locally produced Welsh language papers too, but until now there has been no real challenge, no actual competition for the Western Telegraph itself. For some years the Telegraph has had its critics and the main criticism levelled is that the paper has not raised its game to suit the modern world. It is still too big for itself, too many irrelevant little stories on too many pages. Maybe the challenge presented them by the new kid on the block in the shape and content of the Pembrokeshire Herald will work to shake things up a little. The Herald stumbled into being, with all the charm and uncertainty of a young runner, but now with a few miles under its belt its pace is smoother and more certain; its aim more direct and its appeal more varied.

I spotted it as a winner at its first showing, and wrote congratulating the editor and saying I thought that an ongoing soap might work to bring in readers and that I would love to write it. As an ex-journalist, and an author, it is a very appealing prospect.  It is known to work, refer if you don’t believe it to Bridget Jones Diary which began in 1995 in  the Independent newspaper, written by journalist Helen Fielding, and ultimately became what it is today, several best-selling books and three films. Then there was also Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith in The Scotsman which has produced at least half a dozen best-selling novels since appearing in the paper as a soap column. People get hooked on soaps, and these days there is the additional location of the Facebook page, or an online blog to continue the story for those switched on  just as the Archers have been doing, and a weekly episode in the paper for others.

I do not know what the then editor thought of the idea. He did not get back to me, which was hardly surprising it being the first week they had compiled and gone to press. I still like the idea of a geriatric Mrs Jones, looking for love throughout Pembrokeshire. I imagine that some of the people I know would make great characters and though some of the men I have dated might run for cover, it’s not a bad idea for something which could run and run.

In spite of there having been no reaction to my generous offer, I still give a big thumbs up to the Pembrokeshire Herald for its fresh appeal and hope it continues to gain readers and make its mark on the area. If you haven’t read it yet, it comes out on Fridays and is well worth a 50p flutter!

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