In the wake of the IT revolution and its effect on news-gathering and dissemination, all newspapers are constantly having to adapt and evolve in order to maintain economic viability. To this end the Plymouth-based Western Morning News and the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, both titles in the Northcliffe stable, are pooling their resources to produce a new 48 page supplement, which will go out with both papers as from 11th December.
The chess column in the WMN is one of the oldest of any provincial daily, having been started in 1891, with the first correspondent being Carslake Winter-Wood writing under the nome-de-plume “Queen’s Knight”. It adopted its present format in 1956 when J. E. Jones of Totnes took it on and concentrated on purely local activity. In 1963 it was taken on by Ken Bloodworth of Plymouth, who wrote it for 35 years before handing on the job to me in 1999. Meanwhile, chess coverage in the WDP has had a somewhat more chequered history (pun intended but unavoidable); a regular column was started in 1965 by R. Myers, quickly followed by C. Welch who continued with it for a decade when it was taken over by A. C. Brown of Westbury-upon-Trym until 1989 when it stopped, and there hasn’t been one since.
Happily, the new supplement will continue with the WMN’s chess column, meaning it will now get a much wider readership, which will include most of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, in fact, most of the area covered by the West of England Chess Union. The implication of this is that the term “local coverage” takes on a slightly different dimension, as it has to try and cover activities in the whole of the West of England, from Penzance to Cheltenham, a mere 220 miles apart. So unless it is to be allowed more column inches, Devon and Cornwall must expect rather fewer mentions in future.
The other side of the coin is that I can now give an airing to activity in the wider readership – providing it is sent to me. So could I ask organisers in these “new” counties to send me details, such as results, game scores, up-coming events etc. and I will do what I can to raise their profile, within the constraints imposed by the Editor.
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