Since the demise of Central Outlook over a year ago, central Swindon’s been without a source of hyperlocal news. It may not have been the best quality journalism, but it was a space where truly local issues affecting the Victorian terraced areas of central Swindon were aired. So when this afternoon a new magazine titled “it’s all about central swindon” plopped through my letterbox, I was mildly interested. But not for long.
I suppose I should have been more sceptical given that it arrived buried amongst a load of junk leaflets. The fact that the most prominent place name on the front cover was ‘Highworth’ wasn’t promising either. The editorial told me that there are already editions for east and west Swindon. It also told me that the editorial team are based in Wootton Bassett. That’s even less local than the local newspaper. As for the remainder, there’s a few local (i.e. Swindon-related) reports, adverts, syndicated articles, adverts, advertorials, and adverts.
I almost gave the benefit of the doubt, wondering if the local content might increase significantly in later editions. Then I looked at the online editions for east and west Swindon on their website, apparently in their twelfth and sixth editions respectively. Apart from a piece by Covingham Parish Council in the east Swindon edition, they’re almost indistinguishable. Though the order of the articles is different in each, with very few exceptions the content is the same; and unrelated to the specific circulation area.
It’s not all about central Swindon, it’s all about somewhere else.