A new local paper covering the West London borough of Hillingdon has launched with columns from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Described by the editor as a ‘love letter to traditional print journalism,’ the new monthly Hillingdon Herald will be written and produced by students from Brunel University London, with a focus on the borough and wider London.
Ten-thousand copies of the paper will be printed and distributed monthly throughout Uxbridge and Hillingdon, although daily updates will also be available through an accompanying website.
In a coup for the student-led paper, three serving local MPs have agreed to contribute, including Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister.
“While it is no secret that local media is facing significant challenges from changing news consumption habits, throughout the pandemic our local and regional newspapers have proved indispensable in bringing communities together and keeping residents reliably informed,” said journalist-turned-politician Mr Johnson in his debut column for the paper.
“I am pleased to be able to support and contribute to this new venture led by journalism students at Brunel University and very much hope it can provide a useful source of local news to residents across the borough.”
Mr Johnson’s fellow contributors to the paper include Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor, and David Simmonds, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.
Editor Rachel Sharp with some of the Hillingdon Herald team
Whilst Brunel are funding the paper’s first edition, it is hoped that in future the paper will be self-sustaining and funded through advertising.
“The paper aims to be a love letter to traditional print journalism,” said editor Rachael Sharp, a senior lecturer in journalism at Brunel and former group editor for a number of local London papers.
“Local newspapers are so important, and sadly many of them have fallen by the wayside over the past few years. This will be a traditional local community newspaper, covering local events and news, but also events and stories from the wider London area, and international news that we know will be of interest to our diverse community.”
She added: “We are all really excited about the launch. Our International Journalism Masters students have been working around the clock over the summer to help us prepare for the launch, and all year groups on our Undergraduate degrees and Masters degrees will be working on this venture.”
To commemorate the launch of both the paper and the website, The Hillingdon Herald team will be hosting a party at Brunel University London’s campus at 5pm on 13 October.
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