The Maidenhead Advertiser is an unusual local newspaper in that all of its profits go to it's charitable foundation. This distributes to local good causes. It is nitsime new ethical start up though, the paper has been doing this for decades. The focus is on Maidenhead in Berkshire but it also covers the surrounding Thames Valley area. My home town gets about a page within that. I find this covers all the main points and accurately. This means I actually choose to buy the Advertiser for local news over the newspaper supposedly dedicated to my own town. This latter paper misses stories, says events happened on the wrong day and can't even get the street names of the place right. It is so amateurish whereas the Maidenhead Advertiser shines with professionalism. They try to be objective inn their reporting and allow debate on their letters pages. Information is always accurate. They send photographers to many local events and publish photographs of a high standard. There are plenty for each event.
The paper is easy to use with a quick index to popular sections on the front cover. There are special sections on Sport, Comedy, Theatre, and Cinema as well as the expected events listings, job ads and family announcements. The cinema pages contain bite size reviews of all films currently showing. I also think the sports section deserves notice. A far wider range of sports than normal finds a mention in thus paper. In the edition in front of me there are softball and hockey reports for instance. The photographers are sent to get good action shots from a wide variety of sporting occasions. Youth sport is enthusiastically covered and women are given fair coverage rather than the discrimination usually faced by them. My only complaint would be their little puzzle section ( half a page) is a bit small print for me to easily fill in. I do recommend the paper to any local.
I have lived in the Maidenhead area for most of my life. Having moved around the country for short-term job assignments at various times too. For those who aren't familiar with the place it is a middle size town with a population of 60,000 situation about 25 miles away from London in between Slough and Reading in Berkshire.
Although I have lived in this area on and off for a considerable length of time I am not blind to its shortcomings. It is in my opinion a vastly over priced area, with a very average town and little to attract tourists, although there are some lovely smaller regions that are beautiful nearby such as Henley and Cookham. The one thing that has always impressed me is the quality of its local paper the ' Maidenhead Advertiser'.
About the paper:
The Maidenhead Advertiser comes out every Thursday and costs 55p. This year it is celebrating it 140 year of publication. Its history is largely linked with that of the Baylis family. When it was first published it was just 4 pages and came out on a Wednesday because that was market day. It had traditionally been in broadsheet format but that was changed in tabloid format in 1974.
These days the paper in line with technological change also has as web site, which is visited by 11,000 people a week. On here you can submit both articles and pictures, while viewing the contents of the paper through the well-organised memo. The web page is www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk
What I like about the paper:
There are many features about the paper I like the first and most obvious is the amount of local information the paper hold every week. It is always a big paper as it contains well over 100 pages every week. I find its layout easy to understand; on the front page you have your headline plus a list of the main new features of that week. While on Page 2 you have a list of the regular sections these include: General News, Letters, Local area new, What's on, Classifieds, Recruitment, Motors, Property and Sport.
Through the basic layout of the paper I think is excellent, everything is easy to find. I must admit I don't ever read the whole paper, as there just isn't time so I skim some sections that don't appeal to me. I am always impressed with the discreet adverts in the paper, as lets face it that is where a paper makes its money. You do not get pages of massive adverts, what you do get is these adverts around the main stories, so there is something to read on each page and if you are not interested in them they can be skipped.
I think my favourite section is the Recruitment Section. This because of the recession is a lot smaller than it used to be. We are down to six pages of jobs, which still compares very favourably with many local newspapers. I have seen as many as 18 pages when the employment market has been better. Two reasons why this section has so much in it, firstly, I am lucky to live in an area where there are usually a lot of jobs and labour needs to be brought into the area. It is not so true at this moment in time but I'm sure it will again when the recession is over. Secondly, this paper has a massive circulation and while its called the Maidenhead Advertiser it is taken my many people from the surrounding villages, so anyone in the region wishing to advertise a post will in all probability use the paper because so many people read it.
Out of my last five jobs three of those have been directly from adverts in the local paper while another one was through an agency advertising in the paper. I know it is not cheap to get a decent size advert in the paper, as when I needed to recruit three years ago I remember it cost over £600 for a smallish advert.
I also spend a lot of time looking at the sport section at the back of the paper. This is eight pages and this is probably about the norm. Featuring mainly football, cricket, rugby, athletics, rowing and bowling. It covers these sports in a fair amount of detail and all the local teams. This was great for me when I played cricket as every week my local team was in but not only that I could see how are local rivals and friends from those teams were doing as well.
The paper also has a feature that appeals to me it has a page on each small village or region within Maidenhead. I find this very handy for finding out all the gossip and new things going on in my particular area. But not only that I like looking at other areas and see what issues they are dealing with for example an outbreak of vandalism or a fate at school.
One section I should read more is the Leisure and Lifestyle section. This deals with all the local events happening over the next week. This is about eight pages and it will tell you about the latest things happening at local Theatres, Cinema's as well as reviews of these by local reporters. One thing that always surprises me it does not give you the television listing for the week or even the weekend.
What I don't like about the paper:
For me the slant on the paper has changed, it these days focus on the negatives that are happening within the region. They look for more sensational headlines each week, I suppose it's understandable as people are often grabbed by a highline. I think this is sad and I would like to hear and read more positive headlines rather than look at the negatives. An example recently was there were headlines about road gridlock in the front cover, the story inside talked about how the roads would be grinding to halt while many of the roads were being resurfaced. I did not see the reason for this report and really thought it was a positive sign the roads were being improved and all the potholes were being covered up and as it was they were managed over a period of time not all at once. I do not see the need for a quality local paper like this to come down to the level of the tabloid national press.
For me the Maidenhead Advertiser is a quality local paper and the best I have ever read in both content and value for money. It has everything I need to know about my local community and it set out in a way it is easy for find whatever you want quickly and looks attractive.
Thank you for reading my review.
@CPTDANIELS September 2009
The Maidenhead Advertiser is an excellent local paper - one of the best I have come across. It covers all the general local news very well. It has extended its reach with separate sections covering outlying areas - Marlow, Cookham, Cippenham, Bray. So most people have a two-tiered coverage - the Maidenhead area and their particular district. The sports coverage is good and comprehensive covering soccer, cricket, rugby, hockey as well as minority activities such as kung fu. Junior age groups are covered as well as adult. It is a really thick paper with lots of reading and with some colour. A full classified section is useful for all sorts of things as well as for people moving home or looking for a new car. The Advertiser likes to get involved and support local activities and charities when it can. All in all a major contribution to Maidenhead life and the community.