A new free newspaper for London

London’s latest free newspaper will launch next month. Snipe is a fortnightly arts and listings newspaper that will be available in selected bars, restaurants, clubs and shops from May 15, with an initial print run of around 10,000 – although this is set to rise. The website launches on Friday April 15. 

Don’t worry though, London Weekly it most certainly ain’t.

Snipe‘s founder, Darren Atwater, is a Canadian and small newspaper nut with considerable editorial experience in his native Vancouver. We met up a couple of months ago and he explained that he was basing Snipe on the free community papers that are available in most US cities. This is a concept that has always impressed me. These independent enterprises survive through classified and small-business advertising and at their best can be tremendous, vital local newspapers with a real grip on what is going on in their city. In some cases, they are the glue that holds a city’s diverse scenes together, with passion and knowledge of their subjects married to a genuinely independent and non-commercial spirit. Yes, websites can cover this sort of ground – see the excellent Londonist, for example – but there is still nothing better than print for making a real, concrete imprint on a city.

I have often wondered why London has never produced an answer to a paper like the Austin Chronicle, an essential alternative newspaper that is free, useful, cool, politically engaged, culturally confident, intelligent and easy t0 find. Atwater wondered the same, and then decided to do something about it.

London has had some terrible experience with free newspapers recently, but this is something different altogether, an enterprise that all London-based lovers of arts and newspapers should get behind.

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4 responses to “A new free newspaper for London

  1. sounds great- will look forward to getting a copy. Online is great, I clearly write online myself and it’s opened my eyes to loads but sometimes you just want to read a paper on a bus or in a cafe- sometimes you just want the reassurance of paper between your hands, something to hold. So I hope it’s good and it does well.

  2. When I lived in Chicago, I used to wait for the Reader each week. Great articles plus all the listings, probably akin to the Austin Chronicle.

    Mind you if the idea takes off, Time Out better watch out!

    Let’s hope it does….

  3. i find it strange that people are praising the austin chronicle (i live in austin) because your impressions could not be farther off the mark. the arts coverage is deplorable and the political natter is toothless. it’s a tourist trap rag at best.
    consider the far superior papers like the “eye” or “now” in toronto, the “straight” in vancouver or even the “mirror” in montreal. this is not to say that the US doesn’t have their fair share (tons actually) the “reader” in chicago and san diego(also san diego citybeat) as well as the “guardian” and “sfweekly” in san fran. this is just a short list of the heavy hitters. these papers should be looked as the template for the snipe not the self serving, small minded rhetoric of the chronicle.

    i am surprised that london is not teaming with these alt papers. looking forward to snipe!

    the internet is a funny place

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