My first impression of this new local newspaper for Tonbridge & Malling is that it’s hugely dull, particularly with the formal layout with dreary spammy business articles and ads for black company cars. It also dripped of being NIMBY Middle England.
We now have lots of new newspapers these days which are livelier, more interactive with the community, and less formal, which I think is more fitting in a modern age.
I visit London regularly and I often see commuters ignoring the Evening Standard now in favour of the Metro, and I have heard so many favourable comments about it, generally from the middle aged and younger community. In comparison to that, the Times of Tonbridge is quite pompous, with unimaginative corporate articles, and the majority of it being Tory propaganda. In fact, there is a big ‘smiley’ photo of the local Tory MP as part of the main front page story. It is curious how on the Times of Tonbridge’s first front page newspaper article was a story that involves our local Tory MP.
As an anti-monarchist there is the usual drivel, written in a way to promote the royal institution, for the 23 March article such as there being a ‘rare chance to bid for a Lagonda owned by the Duke of Edinburgh’ and it painfully continues, ‘A chance has arisen to own a completely unique car with a direct connection to the British Royal Family’. I don’t think I have met anyone of my age in Tonbridge or anywhere else stupid enough to pine for an castoff owned by a royal parasite. I wonder if they will say the same if one of Prince Andrew’s smashed up wrecks gets flogged off. There was also a huge ad for a company selling overpriced watches which ‘had a royal appointment’ next to its logo, as if that was a selling point.
There are so many articles in the paper related to house prices, and once again, Tonbridge & Malling Council never fails to quip in.
As you may know, I love good photojournalism (though generally tasteful, as I don’t like insensitive photojournalism made to sell newspapers. The photos in the newspaper were ‘lazy’ with stock ‘Tonbridge Castle’ photos, contrived mugshots, or wooden photos right out of Linked in. There are several photos of people with their arms crossed which looked tedious as there were so many of them featured.
Despite all the health concerns, there were several spammy articles promoting booze, so you question the paper’s ethics.
There are some good points, however, in that it covers some campaigning issues such as Drytec, Southeastern and the Gatwick flight paths issues. The Letters page, though fairly balanced, had just seven letters . For the amount of people in Tonbridge & Malling, there ought to be a lot more letters to make the newcomers feel that there is more of a community, rather than a business paper. We want to hear other people’s views rather than read endless corporate self-promotion.
There didn’t seem to be anything about the deep social issues of Tonbridge life that the area is experiencing such as mental health, gambling, alcoholism, domestic violence and so on. It is highly selective ‘news’. It seemed to be a local paper without much ‘soul’. It is definitely not a paper for young people too, or those from a diverse cultural background, even if they have a lot to say.
Next: Review on New Day, another national newspaper launched recently
(and while am at it I spotted the following Review of the Times of Tonbridge on Tonbridge Blog’s site http://tonbridgeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/new-newspaper-for-tonbridge.html).