Editor's comment February 2016
PUBLISHED: 10:25 21 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 21 January 2016
Mike Lowe celebrates ten years as editor of Cotswold Life
Ten years ago this month I was relaxing at home having recently fled the battleground of regional newspapers when a very nice chap phoned me up and asked me if I’d like to become editor of Cotswold Life.
“Why not,” I thought. “I’ll do it for a few months. It’ll be a laugh.” And it was. So much so that I quickly fell in love with this magazine and the notion of promoting all that was best about the Cotswolds. That’s not difficult, of course. All you have to do is stick your head out of the window around here and all kind of wonderment abounds. And then there was the staff. From having to spend almost all of my time catering to the demands and difficulties of around 100 journalists, I suddenly had just two brilliant and dedicated people to work with – a delight then and still a delight now.
A decade on and Cotswold life – and, indeed, Cotswold Life – is still great fun. As for the magazine, we’ve continually tried to enhance the content, from introducing some excellent columnists to covering in detail some of the issues other media organisations don’t have the space or the manpower to do. We’ve roughed up property developers, exposed the Church’s plans to sell off parish land for housing and investigated the threat to long-established allotments. And at the same we’ve continued to be your indispensable guide to life in the Cotswolds.
So thank you for your support and feedback. And here’s to the next 10 years.
So what has changed the most during that decade? Undoubtedly the way we now get much of our news, information and entertainment through social media. Now a beautiful, glossy magazine like Cotswold Life doesn’t always translate as well onto a web page as it sits on a coffee table, but our hugely popular site is a gold mine of useful information about places to go and things to do, most of it written specifically for digital delivery.
But in my mind, print is still king. If you rely on Twitter or that Bookface thing, you only get the world view of those you follow; usually like minds with similar interests. A newspaper or magazine brings new horizons and exposes the reader to ideas and topics they might not have thought they were interested in. There still is, thankfully, a value to a carefully edited package prepared for a specific audience. But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?!
When I first moved down to these parts over 25 years ago, I lived on the other side of the river in Newnham. As I was working in Gloucester at the time, the trip up the A48 to the office wasn’t too onerous. However, any attempt to cross to this side – only a couple of miles as the crow flies – involved a major outing.
It often occurred to me that a new, relatively inexpensive crossing between Newnham and Arlingham would be a marvellous thing for the prosperity of the whole region. I’m reminded of this by our feature on the old Princess of the Severn ferry on Page 146 (February 2016 issue). The need is still there. Even in these times of austerity, it shouldn’t be beyond our wit to come up with an alternative to using the hideously expensive bridges or battling the jams on the Gloucester ring road.
It is always sad when we have to say goodbye to a wonderful performer who brought great delight to so many people. An innovator, he was the first in his field. There was that incredible stage presence - often brooding, almost disdainful at times, but underneath it all a born entertainer. And his name began with B.
So farewell then Brian the Goose, mainstay of Giffords Circus for many years, who passed away last month. He will be missed, and we’ve certainly lost a little part of what makes the Cotswolds special. RIP Brian. ■
Follow Mike on Twitter @cotslifeeditor