Hip gazette is year’s first Hackney media crash

© Rowena Bond 2016

ALMOST THREE YEARS ago, journalist Mark Wilding launched Dalstonist. In the first week of this year, 2016, he closed it.

In a total of eight print editions, with an accompanying website, the lively local paper gave many a coffee-bar Mac user hours of pleasant diversion from the work they knew they should be tapping into their laps.

The newspaper, which was distributed and offered free around Hackney, did not get enough advertising to pay print and other commercial costs.

Dalstonist cover
Sassy: a typically assertive Dalstonist cover

Wilding denied this, telling Loving Dalston the publication and website turned a profit, albeit a small one and that it “always made enough from advertising to pay for print and other costs”.

Profits were, however, not sufficient to build Dalstonist into the publication that he wanted it to be.

The Hackney Gazette, owned by East Anglian chain Archant, will hope to inherit some of the remaining advertising.

The now-weekly newspaper that once sold almost 100,000 copies an issue is only just surviving a dramatic downturn in circulation to a four-figure level.

The’s council controversial Hackney Today also soaks up advertising that might otherwise go to an independent journal.

Wilding led a team of young writers to create Dalstonist as a paper that took a witty look at events and developments in the borough, especially those aimed at the hip and the entrepreneurial, and published more than a few serious exposés of serious matters that might otherwise have been kept secret.

In a valedictory notice, the editor says: “The financial reality of publishing means stories which attract the most clicks tend to be the priority – which means that other stories of equal or greater importance are inevitably missed.

“The idea was to tell stories about Hackney that reflected the borough’s unique creativity and tracked the enormous changes taking place in the area.

“As time has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to do justice to Hackney’s incredible diversity and to keep up with the pace of change.”

In a hint that he may be considering another format, Wilding adds: “There are still plenty of amazing and crucial stories to be told about Hackney but Dalstonist no longer feels like the right outlet to tell them.”

David Altheer 060116

* Main picture © Rowena Bond

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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