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New owner sees View From titles join Independent

THE future of local newspapers in the West Country received a massive boost this week when the team behind your favourite local free weeklies joined forces with the West Country’s famous Sunday Independent.

Entrepreneur Peter Masters, who embarked on a plan to rejuvenate the 200-year-old Independent when he acquired the iconic regional title in April, has now moved to add the Lyme Regis-based View From series of free newspapers to his expanding stable of publications.

The move, which aims to create a formidable, independent, local publishing group, offers further evidence of the revival of print media, he said.

The eight View From papers, which serve Axminster, Seaton, Colyton, Honiton, Beer, Ottery St Mary, Crewkerne, Chard, Ilminster, Yeovil, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Beaminster, Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland, were acquired from Capital Media Newspapers, who had owned the titles for 18 months.

The Lyme operation, which employs 31 people and is headed by veteran publisher Philip Evans, 68, also produces a series of local Experience magazines and runs news websites for the West Country communities it serves.

Peter, who is also chairman and co-owner of Truro City Football Club, said he was excited to bring the two publishing businesses together.

The Somerset-born businessman stepped in to save the Sunday Independent in April.

The 200-year-old paper had come under threat following the sudden death of its previous proprietor.

Peter is now constructing an investment plan to develop the multi-edition 200-year-old title, which focuses on professional and grass roots sport and leisure in Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

He said: “These are extremely exciting times for the View From group and the Sunday Independent as we work on plans to deliver even better quality, value and ideas for their readers.

“I and all the dedicated staff at both titles believe in the future of print newspapers at the heart of their communities, where people can share their successes, their challenges, their events, their joys and criticisms.

“Both will have a vibrant web presence delivering news and sport updates and digital platforms for advertisers to reach these communities – but we all also believe that nothing beats sitting down with a paper that covers your community or your sphere of interest and reading all the things you can’t find on the internet!”

Philip Evans

Philip Evans said: “This is a great development, one that will enable us to improve our service to the loyal readers and advertisers who support our independent and trusted local publications. Joining forces with the Sunday Independent will create a powerful publishing business for the whole of the West Country.”

Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Chard & Ilminster Reporter | After studying for his NCTJ in Bournemouth, Peter started with the paper in June 2015 on a freelance basis, now permanently based in East Devon covering community and council news.

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