Who knew the whiff of old newsprint could send me striding down the Memory Lane of media past.
A B&D Back in the Day Guest Blog colliding with my first glance at the perfect printed page proofs for the resurrection of my infamous Sue’s View (watch this space!), saw me reliving my journo japes of the last decade..or two.
And thinking of those halcyon hack days soon got me onto the Glamorgan Gem, and how shocked I was that it was shutting up shop completely.
As a former newspaper editor, my heart hurts a bit everytime I see yet another once profitable print finally fold – especially a six-edition weekly series axed with loss of five journalism jobs.
The Gem was actually last published in March when it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and it’s staff sent on furlough.
Now the title, which publishes editions covering Barry, Bridgend, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Penarth and Porthcawl, has closed completely.
Sincere wishes that those staff affected soon find enjoyable employment – either in the fiercely-competitive journalism field, or in the ‘gamekeeper turned poacher’ world of PR.
As for me, it’s massive mixed feelings. Back in the day when I was Editor of the Barry and District News, and the Penarth Times, they were our biggest rival.
We were competing over who had the hardest-hitting headlines, crafted the best copy, edited the most exciting editions, poached the most advertisers, and of course, who slayed it in the circulations wars.
Pertinent to point out here though that readers had to part with their pence for our newspaper, not just have it delivered free to the front door – well, that’s if the paperboy didn’t dump the lot in a ditch and go home… remember that.
The Barry and District News was always the winner of course – well, I would say that, but it was very different B&D then. We had a fabulous front office, real reporters out and about, a hungry sales team, and time and space to write and edit – not just publish any old Press Release that popped on the mat.
And yes, I mean that literally. I started in 1998 when we didn’t have a website, were just getting used to that new-fangled thingy called email, and we actually paid professionals to take our piccies. Wow, who knew.
So, I suppose it’s a sign of the times that the printed word has shifted significantly from the inky page to the shiny screen. And whilst breaking stories, hard-hitting exposes, controversial opinion, and fine features are still so important – it’s our sites, blogs and hyperlocals, readers look to stay on top of the news. These are definitely the platforms that are paving the way.
Credit to those at the B&D keeping it going on a shoestring budget, short staffing numbers, and the loss of the lovely iconic office down town. Respect.
Back to the Gem though.
After I left the B&D in the mid 2000’s, and dabbled in a bit of free press notice work, now and again, for friends and family, they were very generous in printing my penned prose.
I’d ping over a Press Notice, their intrepid chief reporter swiftly followed up, kept the conversation going, printed my pieces, and always gave me a cheeky little ‘SVJ’ byline at the end.
So I guess you could say we kissed and made up in the end.
Thank you Glamorgan Gem.
You will be missed.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
The dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, can be contacted here.