December 4, 2020
So, why the change now?
The North East Times brand will have been in circulation for four decades next year, and what a forty years it has been.
While this legacy will always be recognised, I feel now, in the very different times we find ourselves, we have an opportunity to once again challenge the norm.
When we relaunched the publication five years ago, my aim was to deliver an internationally-styled magazine at a regional level, creating an authoritative and influential voice for the North East.
We inherited a brand, tone and presence, and it was time for us to move this on and establish our own identity.
Over the last twelve months, I have considered the future of North East Times, and what the next chapter is for us, as we look to survive in an increasingly digitalised advertising ecosystem.
This has been accelerated by a very challenging year, not only for us, but all businesses in the North East who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
There’s no sugar coating it – it’s been tough. But it’s now time to look forward to new opportunities and new ways of working.
I want to step forward from our competitors in the marketplace, and utilise the team and channels we have invested in.
I am an avid supporter of print, and in my opinion, print marketing is still an invaluable medium.
By creating a physical, experiential relationship with the reader, print provides a more slow-paced, trusted environment for advertisers to connect with their marketplace.
Moving forward, our editorial direction will be underpinned by a strategy of being more reactive to the changing business landscape, to drive debate in the North East business community.
I have spoken to many of our partners and clients over the past few years, and it’s so refreshing to have honest conversations about our direction, and to be asked, what is the future of print?
For us, it’s about continuing to evolve with the times through an editorial structure which incorporates briefings on the regional, national and international news landscape, in-depth reporting and analysis on the key issues facing the business world and explorative interviews with the people rising to challenges and seizing opportunities in the North East.
In the past, we have used themes to guide our content, but now we’re moving away from that to give us more editorial freedom to explore what truly matters and deliver insights in real time.
We will continue to highlight key business developments as we always have, but with a renewed focus on the big issues of the future such as entrepreneurship, global politics, sustainability, international trade, and technology.
In a landscape challenged by the ease of access to digital channels, we have been working resolutely to tailor opportunities for advertisers to maximise their impact with a multi-channelled print and digital approach.
And we are working hard behind the scenes to deliver a platform which covers the news and views that are instantaneously dated in print.
This will come to light early next year – watch this space!
Over the past nine months, I have heard stories of ingenuity, courage and determination, and have observed with admiration how businesses have adapted to the challenges of COVID-19.
This is echoed by the team we work with at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, to produce their quarterly publication CONTACT, who have shared stories of businesses rising to the challenge to adapt and thrive.
I am also thrilled to have appointed Steven Hugill as editor of North East Times, someone I’m sure a lot of you know. As we move into a new chapter, I am confident Steven will shape our new approach.
And I can’t say that without a thank you to our outgoing editor Alison Cowie. I am hugely appreciative of Alison’s drive, tenacity and talent, and she has built the foundation of North East Times and its ambition moving forward.
I would be really interested to talk to any of you reading this and hear your feedback on the new look, new feel and new direction of North East Times. Please get in touch.
This is ultimately only the beginning, and we will continue to evolve in response to the changing needs of the marketplace.
I, as well as the team, continue to be incredibly grateful for the support and advocacy of the North East business community.
It has been quite a year – but you’ve been the driving force to keep going!