Bridgwater Magazine is about Bridgwater and a 5 mile radius. While we may sometimes write up stories outside of this area, this will always be on things that we feel those within the area would be interested in
When we started Bridgwater Magazine, which was also known as Bridgwater News for a short time, we had an idea of what it was that we wanted to do.
Things change though, and they have to change. We could see that the ideas that we had, which were originally to publish a printed magazine, and then a printed newspaper, were not the direction that those using the website wanted us to go. We found this out by speaking to a large number of people.
We then decided to remain online only for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being that people had told us that they like what we are doing with the website, but also because of other considerations, such as being more environmentally friendly.
Even this has changed, as we were looking for advertisers for the website and had placed services on here, but we have now taken the next step in the evolution of the magazine, and decided to remove all advertising and services, making it completely non-profit.
We looked at the alternatives out there, primarily The Bridgwater Mercury and Somerset Live, but also the new Apple Magazine, which you can, and should, pick up when you see a copy, which is available all over the town. They all do what they do, but we do things the way that we do them.
To be a viable alternative, or even an accompaniment, we have to be different. One of the biggest problems that we find with the first two listed above, is the amount of advertising on their pages. We understand that they need advertising to exist, but it tends to overshadow the actual news. While the advertising that we did show was never intrusive, it was still there. Occasionally there will be advertising, but non-obtrusive, and for something we are running or a good cause – always at no charge.
Another problem with surviving on advertising is that you will always have that voice in your head when reporting the news. ‘What if I write something about a possible advertiser? Will they then never want to advertise with us?’ When it comes to providing news, this should never be part of the decision on whether to run a story.
There are times when we will not run a story, but this is rare. One example is that we had a story, which I will not mention, and we were contacted by somebody not involved, telling us that this would cause further worry and heartache to the family of the people involved. We removed the story, as it wasn’t one in the public interest, and we aren’t here to just get clicks or be seen to be printing lots of stories.
Another thing that you may notice, is that we are sometimes later in reporting things than other websites. This is partly due to not being included on many press release listings. For example, the town council only seem to remember us when they want us to write up something good about them. However, this is also purposely done if we do not have confirmation on a story, or would prefer further details before publishing. We would rather be known as a reliable source of news than a wholesale news service.
We now class ourselves as a community organisation and, as always, will remain apolitical, as we do not believe it is our job to suggest how you think about something, but simply to provide all the information, so that you can make an informed choice.
The Next Steps
We do have several plans as a community project, and have already started on some of these, with others coming in the future.
We are publishing events on the website, and you can add your own by contacting us on the contact page, though we will soon be adding a form specifically for this. We publish a listing daily, and often share this on various Facebook groups, though not every day, as this would quickly become annoying.
We have also recently launched our Youtube channel, which will include various videos on a number of subjects, from news and events to history, business and general interest. If you have a video that you would like us to consider for inclusion on the page, please get in touch with us. Please subscribe to the channel, as once we get more likes on there, we will be able to offer a much better channel with services only available to those with more subscribers, at least 100.
We are in the process of organising various film festivals, bringing indie films from around the world to Bridgwater. These are films that are usually only available to watch at the larger film festivals in the bigger cities. The first of these is Bridgslaughter on June 15th, which is a horror film festival, and it is free entry. We have others in the planning stage, and eventually, plan to hold a large film festival in various venues around the town. In addition to the film festivals, we will also be setting up BridgyFlix, which will allow you to watch some films on the website, which you otherwise may not get to see.
Continuing with the entertainment side of things, we are also in the process of setting up a theatre and film group. With the plan being to perform original plays and produce short & feature films. We are now looking for actors and those behind the scenes, so if you are interested, please get in touch for further information.
In the future, we plan on having a full online directory of businesses, services, organisations and charities. Again, being part of Bridgwater Magazine, this will be free to both add to and to use.
We also have a plan to provide everybody with a free website. This will be using exactly the same system as used by WordPress.com, but will be Bridgwater specific. As a part of this, there will be a small Bridgwater social network, which will be nothing to do with any of the others out there, simply available for Bridgwater people.
One of the important things we would like to see happen, and something which is already ready and waiting, is for people to write up their own stories or, if you do not want to do this, then provide us with the details.
We will be placing a donation button on the website, but this is only there for those who want to use it.