organised by the Weekly Independent Newspaper Association to promote the strength of the local weekly newspaper as a focal point of community life.

“During the recession and throughout the whole of my 65 unbroken years in local newspapers, I have become well aware of how strong and well-established are the newspapers in the local press,” he will tell delegates at the Tindle Newspapers Top Management Conference in Taunton today. “We shall continue for many years to come giving a vital service to the local communities of the UK.”

David Newell, director of the Newspaper Society which represents regional and local news media, said: “Weekly newspapers are the cornerstone of the newspaper industry in the UK. They connect communities and businesses together in a way in which no other media can. Today marks the launch of a nationwide initiative to promote weekly newspapers and celebrate their success and their future. The Newspaper Society will play its full part in supporting the WINA campaign and in ensuring key opinion formers understand the central role weekly newspapers have in today’s media landscape.”

‘Local Weekly Newspapers – With You All the Way’ will take the form of a TV campaign with a 30-second showcase animated TV advertisement featuring a character called Ray and his local weekly paper at different life stages. The ad will run on 21 February in TV regions specific to WINA newspaper titles and will be backed up by a 90-second version of the video which all weekly newspapers across the UK will be invited to run on their websites.

A supporting campaign of newspaper advertisements, website banners, outdoor ads and radio jingles will be provided within a package for every weekly newspaper in the UK. The campaign will be available to view at http://localweeklynewspapers.co.uk  from tomorrow (Friday 7 February)

Joanna Parlby, chairman of WINA and managing director of Newark Advertiser Media Group, will outline the campaign at the Tindle conference later today. She said: “We are working to dispel some of the myths that local newspapers and the role they have in their communities may be under threat… we are confident that the closeness and trust we share with the readers and advertisers we have in every community in print and online will enable us to carry on serving them as we have done through the many economic upturns and downturns….”

Sir Ray will tell the conference:“We are proud to say that the local press is fighting fit and our heads are well above water.” He sets out 10 facts from his own company during the recent recession to prove it:

  1. Tindle Newspapers has launched 17 new local titles and purchased another 16 during the past six years. He fully expects to launch and buy more titles.
  2. Localisation clearly enhances both local revenue and circulation. Tindle Newspapers first used this technique to resuscitate the Tenby Observer after its closure was announced in 1978. It has been profitable ever since.
  3. National advertising has fallen but local revenue has grown without the need to increase ad rates. In his South London titles, it has increased by 30 per cent as a result of the new title launches.
  4. Newspaper profits have been hit but Tindle Newspapers Group’s current year profits will double those of last year by the end of March 2014 and are forecast to continue growing.
  5. The turnaround at Tindle’s London titles has brought them back into profit and enabled the group to give every member of staff a salary increase.
  6. Sir Ray and his group have bought 51 million shares in Johnston Press, making them the largest JP shareholder in the UK. The shares have trebled in value since purchase, bolstering reserves which has enabled Tindle to avoid compulsory journalist redundancies.
  7. Local papers are well established and survive the test of time: two Tindle titles are over 200 years old, nearly 80 of them are over 100 years old.
  8. Throughout its 50-year history, Tindle Newspapers has never borrowed a single penny.
  9. Many independent local weekly newspaper publishers putting like Tindle Newspapers have weathered the storm in good shape by cutting costs, a greater focus on localness and increasing audiences in print and online.
  10. Local newspapers will continue to be the most certain and effective way for advertisers to reach the population of any given town in the UK.