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
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.