Why today is our last Biggleswade Comet edition

Today's front page of the last Biggleswade Comet edition. Picture: Archant

Today's front page of the last Biggleswade Comet edition. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Today is a sad day, as it marks our last Biggleswade, Sandy & Potton edition of the Comet.

Since relaunching this edition in May 2016, we have been welcomed into the community with open arms and, for that, we thank you.

In its beginnings, the biggest challenge for launch editor James Scott was establishing the contacts that would ensure we could tell the stories that matter to the community we serve.

To that end, I believe the last 31 months have been a success. Our first front page about Stratton Upper School’s £8.4 million science block taking shape set the tone and, over time, we built relationships with many schools, businesses, groups, councillors and the public.

Starting from scratch, Our Biggleswade Comet Facebook page now has more than 2,000 likes and has seen huge responses to some of our stories – another indication of our relative success.

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I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve in what admittedly is tough times for journalism, where demands are great and time is short.

So, with all this in mind, why are we closing this edition? Put simply, it no longer makes financial sense.

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While my job is focused on producing the best journalism we can, the Comet and publisher Archant is a business – and one that needs to balance the books.

When the sums don’t add up, you no longer have a viable business – and that, in a nutshell, is why the Biggleswade, Sandy & Potton edition can’t continue.

Printing and distributing thousands of copies costs money and when advertising revenue doesn’t reach the required targets, that means trouble.

In that sense, there was no choice but to close this edition – but that doesn’t make it any less difficult or sad.

What is clear is for the media industry to be successful we need businesses – local and national – to support us, to invest in us. I have no doubt that those relationships – both editorially and commercially – can be mutually beneficial, but regrettably in this instance we were not able to find a sustainable solution.

The Comet’s three other editions are not under threat of closure, but I would like to take this moment to thank all advertisers who have supported any of our titles.

Lastly, I would like to thank you, the readers. While our efforts haven’t always been well received, we have had many, many positive comments since our relaunch and it has been a pleasure to cover this area where there are so many good people doing good things. Keep it up.

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