The chang­ing face of news

This week is the last Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser edi­tion to be pub­lished as a broad­sheet and as we em­brace a new look we take a trip through the pa­per’s his­tory and its place at the heart of lo­cal life

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

for much of its life the pa­per has re­mained a weekly broad­sheet, while at the same time ab­sorb­ing a num­ber of other ti­tles in­clud­ing the Guild­ford Times, the Sur­rey Weekly Press and, in north Sur­rey, the Her­ald se­ries.

It is one of the last lo­cal broad­sheets in the coun­try.

Over the decades, we have been at the heart of Sur­rey, cov­er­ing news from the Guy Ri­ots of the mid-1860s to the Guild­ford pub bomb­ings of 1974 and on to the rapid de­vel­op­ment of Sur­rey’s towns in the 21st cen­tury.

In 1956, we even had our own for­eign cor­re­spon­dent, Ken Hen­ley, who was dis­patched to Malaysia (then called Malaya) to visit the Sur­rey men fight­ing the jun­gle war against ter­ror­ists there, the first pro­vin­cial pa­per to do this.

Our most dra­matic re­port­ing came in Oc­to­ber 1974, when the IRA det­o­nated two bombs at the Horse and Groom and the Seven Stars in Guild­ford, killing five and in­jur­ing 65.

At that time, our of­fice – Ad­ver­tiser House - was only 100 yards from the Horse and Groom, and re­porter Rob King was work­ing late when he heard the ex­plo­sion just af­ter 8.50pm on Oc­to­ber 5.

He was there within sec­onds, the first re­porter on the scene, and his vivid ac­count of the may­hem he saw ap­peared on the front page of the next edi­tion of the Daily Ad­ver­tiser. Above his story was the head­line “PLANNED MUR­DER” and a pic­ture - too graphic for to­day - of one of the vic­tims be­ing loaded onto an am­bu­lance hav­ing lost his foot.

For­tu­nately, we have not had to cover such an in­ci­dent in Sur­rey again but we have con­tin­ued to bring you the vi­tal news from around the county, both in print and, since 2008, on­line at Get Sur­rey.

Ceri Gould, Trin­ity Mir­ror ed­i­tor-in-chief for the South East, said: “The Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser has such a long and proud his­tory in the county that it is an hon­our to in­tro­duce this new chap­ter.

“The Get Sur­rey web­site has been a huge suc­cess but through­out that growth it has been clear the weekly print edi­tion keeps a key place in the hearts of its loyal read­ers.”

An­nounc­ing its change from a monthly to a weekly, our editorial an­nounced: “The pa­per goes steadily for­ward”.

It is in that spirit that we are chang­ing again, and re­turn­ing to the com­pact for­mat with which we started, al­beit with more pages and far, far more news.

Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser ed­i­tor Deanne Blay­lock said: “It hardly needs to be said that the world has changed a lot over the last 150 years but the press will al­ways play a vi­tal role in shin­ing a light on the sto­ries that mat­ter, as well as the sto­ries that en­ter­tain and the sto­ries that move.

“The coun­try faces chal­lenges from the hous­ing short­age to vi­o­lence on the streets and in the home, to how to care for those who need it - the young, the vul­ner­a­ble and the elderly.

“It can be hard to find the facts above the back­ground noise but we will en­deav­our to pro­vide them.

“We also want to hear from you. Whether writ­ing to us for our let­ters page, or sim­ply to tell us a story, we al­ways wel­come cor­re­spon­dence from our read­ers.

“Thank you for be­ing with us and we look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to serve you.”

When we changed from a monthly to a weekly news­pa­per, on July 30 1864, the editorial promised the Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser would ‘on all oc­ca­sions be gen­tle­manly in tone and tem­per­ate in lan­guage, ad­vo­cat­ing the right, de­nounc­ing the wrong, but al­ways in that fair, im­par­tial man­ner which will gain for us the praise of our friends and the re­spect of our op­po­nents’.

We will strive to live up to this prom­ise in our new for­mat, just as we did in our old.

Old and new news: How the Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser re­ported the dis­ap­pear­ance of Agatha Christie in 1926 and left, how we marked 150 years since the birth of au­thor HG Wells.

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