AN independent North East publishing firm is going from strength to strength as its recently launched second publication gathers momentum.
Clubhouse Media Group Ltd launched Washington Way magazine in November 2019, following the success of its national motorcycle racing publication, UK Clubsport, which launched last March.
Washington Way is an A4 printed magazine, delivered free to 20,000 homes and businesses across Washington, Tyne and Wear and is also available at various pick-up points across the town.
Currently printed every two months, it features a host of local and community news and features focusing solely on Washington, along with an extensive what’s on guide and local clubs and groups listings section.
Clubhouse Media Group Ltd was formed in December 2018 by national and regional journalist Zoë Burn – who was born and bred in Washington – along with co-director and fellow journalist Aaron League.
The company was created to launch UK Clubsport, a paid for, monthly magazine which provides extensive coverage of Britain’s motorcycle club and road racing scene.
In November, it rolled-out Washington Way, a project the pair had been working on for several months and designed to give the people of Washington their very own publication, filling a gap left open since the demise of the Washington Star more than a decade ago.
“I’ve never understood why a town as large as Washington has gone without its own news outlet for so long and after beginning my own career in local news almost 25 years ago, I felt the time was right to do something about it,” said Zoë.
“The change in the way local newspapers operate today, with fewer journalists who are generally too busy to get out and about in the community, has been detrimental to the way local news is gathered and ultimately delivered.
“With this in mind, we still operate in the old school way. We spend a lot of time out and about in the town, meeting people and attending events, public meetings and openings and we have even hand delivered the first two editions to homes ourselves where we continue to meet people and learn more about what they want.
“The reality is, not everyone uses social media to find their news and this became apparent the moment we launched Washington Way. Pick-up points were clearing hundreds of copies a day, and then calling us for more saying they couldn’t cope with the demand.
“We knew there was gap in the market for it, but even we didn’t anticipate the incredible response. The only negative feedback we have received is from people who have not received one, which is in fact a compliment and proof, if needed, that the demand is there.”
Unlike many advertising-led free magazines featuring general or shared content, Washington Way puts editorial first, with a strong emphasis on quality content, copy and images.
While the first two editions have been 32-page publications, the team plans to up pagination to at least 48 going forward and is aiming to increase advertising revenue enough to print at least 25-30,000 copies per edition to cope with the demand in coming months.
A news website has been set up to run alongside the print magazine, with the team now stepping up content creation. It is hoped to increase the team in the near future to grow the website.
UK Clubsport, meanwhile, is a glossy 68-page magazine available currently on subscription and by single issues via its website – www.ukclubsport.com
It also available in shops at the Isle of Man and plans are in the pipeline to make it available in shops across the rest of the UK later this year.