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Wednesday September 19 2018

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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on August 31 2018 at 12:18:39

There is an entry in our 1998 office diary from Monday September 28 saying, simply: “Village #1 to press.” And here we are, 20 years later, still just about to go to press, for the 193rd time.

We don’t often blow our own trumpet, and the October issue will be our official 20th anniversary edition where we will no doubt do so, but we can’t resist pre-empting that occasion just a little here to look at how much everything has changed for the magazine, and to peer into the future.

Twenty years ago, that October issue would not have come back to us as printed magazines until at least two weeks later, if we were lucky.

The digital revolution was in its early days and we still had to use crayons to crop and size photographs, and ballpoint pens to write instructions on pieces of paper, with the contents of each page in its own plastic bag.

Everything went backwards and forwards (driven in cars and vans) until it was just about right, and only then would it go to print; and even then the printing company might decide it was more important to get The Rolling Stones’ concert tour programme printed on time than The Village.

These days, there is no to-ing and fro-ing: we get the magazine how we want it on screen, then press a button and a few days later we get 10,000 magazines back in Alvechurch, packed neatly into boxes.

It’s not quite that simple, of course; there are still considerable skills required, most importantly the journalism and advertising sales at the heart of the magazine, as well as the technical knowledge to bring it all together in just the right format.

These skills are why we are still here, as strong as ever, 20 years later.

Which brings us to the rarely-asked question behind any publisher’s endeavour: what gives them the right to present reportage and views to the public at large? Is it just because they have the ability and means to do so?

This is pertinent with the advent of so-called “social media” allowing anyone and everyone to be a publisher if they own a smart phone.

We are now seeing where that leads and it appears to be a dark place indeed, with those taking us in that direction decrying the “fake news” of the established, responsible media.

Newspapers around the world are fighting back, despite having their revenues shredded by the unbridled power of the internet giants – and here at The Village we are delighted to be able to do our bit at a local level, shining a light when necessary into the corners some people would prefer were left in the dark.


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