About twelve years ago I had the idea of starting up a local community newspaper when I lived in East Finchley.
I did my research and costings but could not decide on the name of a newspaper.
One day when I was walking down the High Street towards the underground station I saw a statue on the station of a bowman shooting an arrow down the line towards the centre of London.
Ah! I thought, that’s it, I’ll call the newspaper “The Archer”.
I then put my thoughts together and whilst supping a beer with some friends, mentioned the idea to them. They all thought the idea terrific and said they’d help.
Funds, I said, we’ll need some money. So we had a whip round. Carole put in £5 – it was all she had on her at the time. Kevin and Noel put in a tenner and I contributed £20. After all, it was my idea so I should put in the most!
We contacted the local printer, Brysons, who agreed to print 1,000 A3 sheets, both sides and we launched our first issue in November 1992.
The limited edition talked of our idea of bringing the community together and at the same time asked for helpers in all aspects of the paper to agree to put in from one or two hours a month to one or two hours a week. We said the first issue would be the March 1993 issue and asked people to contact us.
We were amazed at the response and produced our first tabloid 8-pager on time.
By the time I handed over control of the newspaper in July 1993 I had a voluntary staff membership of fifty. Something I am led to understand the paper has never repeated. I had also established “The Friends of The Archer” which I believe is still in existence.
It is still going and one thing that pleases me is that my two main rules are still adhered to.
These were and still are; don’t be political. If you are, the advertisers will know that half the people will throw the paper away and won’t be willing to pay a high price for advertising.
The second rule was, and still is, don’t accept huge advertisements, no more than a quarter-page, and preferably, no larger than an eighth-page. Then the smaller businesses won’t feel their message will be drowned out. I thought that, as the businesses were part of our community, they should feel they were joining in.
You can see the Archer by following the link below.