Exciting tie-up for UWE Bristol journalism students

Issue date: 20 December 2012


The 'Voice' monthly papers in the Bristol area are launching their third and fourth titles in the New Year – just 15 months after their creation.

The magazines – hyperlocal news publications paid for with adverts – have proved incredibly popular since they were launched by two former Bristol Post executives Richard Coulter and Emma Cooper.

The duo have also begun an exciting new venture with UWE Bristol in which final year journalism undergraduates will work on the titles on pro rata pay levels equivalent to newspaper trainees.

This is the latest move in their attempt to create a network of independent, self-employed publishing professionals.

Now they are seeking entrepreneurial journalists in other parts of the country who want to publish their own magazine – and make a living.

The first 'Voice' was Filtonvoice in October last year, published and edited by former Post assistant editor Richard Coulter.

This was followed by Keynshamvoice, published by former Post ad manager Emma Cooper.

Now Emma is launching Bishopstonvoice in north central Bristol while a local businessman will publish Yatevoice.

Emma has teamed up with former Post sub-editor Joni Mann for both of her publications while former Post South Gloucestershire reporter Lynne Hutchinson will spearhead editorial content for Yate.

For Bishopstonvoice, there will also be part-time paid roles as reporters for four UWE Bristol (University of the West of England) journalism students, led by Becky Day, a third year undergraduate.

Discussions are also underway to launch fifth and sixth titles later in the Spring.

Emma said: “Keynshamvoice has been such a success that we wanted to develop the brand further and we have chosen the vibrant Bristol suburb of Bishopston.”

Richard said: “The 'Voice' model is all about 'creating self-employment'. We are trying to show journalists and entrepreneurs that there is profit in publishing if the model is correct.

“Our tie-up with UWE is very exciting, giving the best journalism students a real outlet for their work – and being paid – while for us, we get the flexible staffing levels our model dictates.

“The hope is that some of the students will look closely at the model then possibly become publishers themselves.

“We now want others in different parts of the country to get involved. This is very much a 'network' organisation with each publisher working with the others rather than in competition, both editorially and in commercial.

“And we do not charge hefty franchise fees – instead it is a licence arrangement tied to the success of the publication.”

UWE journalism student Becky said: "Being a part of the Voice and reporting on stories which are in the interest of Bishopston's residents is a really wonderful opportunity.”

Lynn Barlow, Director of Creative Media at UWE, said: “We are constantly stressing to our students the importance of real career opportunities in this changing media landscape and we are excited about the prospects here for our students with the 'Voice' series.

“Genuine hyperlocal publications with a viable business model are needed as opportunities reduce for the traditional routes into journalism.”

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