Screenshot of article appealing to readers for donations.
New Journal Enterprises, which publishes the Camden New Journal, is appealing for donations. Image: Camden New Journal.

New Journal Enterprises which publishes the Camden New Journal is appealing to its readers for financial donations to preserve its future during the toughest period ever faced by the newspaper industry.

The latest paper has a half page notice asking its readers to help it continue its work of holding Camden Council to account and campaigning on the issues that matter to ordinary people.

“For more than 40 years we have published a weekly newspaper, purposely free to all — the idea being that nobody should be denied important information simply on whether they have the ability to pay,” they write on page nine of the weekly printed edition published on Thursday 23 March.

“In return we have asked for nothing but your engagement — a deal from which we have been rewarded with perhaps some of the liveliest letters pages in the country and a stream of ideas from you for stories and debate. We have campaigned and challenged, and hopefully entertained too every now and then.

“The paper is a part of life in Camden, a meeting place and a noticeboard open to all. Nevertheless, even with our most modest outgoings — none of our staff live in a mansion or drive a flashy car — the post-pandemic period has been the newspaper industry’s most challenging time.”

Forty-one years since the first CNJ rolled off the presses, “the escalating cost of ink alone is in itself a threat” with many other papers all over the country now facing similar difficulties.

“In this punishing climate, we ask readers — on our birthday, which comes around this week — to consider a one-off financial donation to help preserve the newspaper’s future.

“The paper will always be completely free to read. Rest assured too that the New Journal’s structure means we do not have shareholders to please with dividends or executive staff on wealthy pay packets to cover — so every single penny goes back into meeting the weekly costs of producing a good local paper for Camden,” they write.

In a swipe at some of the other so-called newspapers they proudly declare they have not “descended into a clickbait web output using only the quickest ways to gather content”.

Instead its journalists are still out reporting on council meetings, sitting in the courts press galleries, and tramping the streets in all parts of the borough.

And in a plea to its readers to value it or lose it: “once local papers are gone, they are usually gone for good, or replaced with lightweight alternatives.”

The CNJ was launched by editor Eric Gordon in 1982. In the 1990s it was infamously banned from being distributed in Camden Town Hall after its critical reporting of the council.

Its sibling paper the Westminster Extra was first produced in 1994 followed by the Islington Tribune in 2003. The CNJ is today edited by Richard Osley, and Tom Foot edits the Westminster Extra and the Islington Tribune.

The Camden New Journal is published every Thursday and is available from outside Fitzrovia Community Centre, 2 Foley Street. The Westminster Extra is available every Friday.

CNJ Birthday Appeal: Help support campaigning journalism.