Loyal local support for the CNJ persists and will ensure its success
20 November, 2020
Editor Eric Gordon, who helped to keep the CNJ afloat through the many crises of the last 40 years
• APPROACHING 40 years of existence, with 2,000 editions under its belt and having survived numerous recessions, a global financial crisis, the rise of the internet and now a pandemic, the CNJ is justly receiving glowing tributes from the great and good of Camden (see last week’s edition and probably this week’s too).
There are two crucial elements in the paper’s success that require amplification.
The first is the role of the editor Eric Gordon who was described by journalist John Wilson in last week’s edition as fearsome and legendary.
Over the years his dedication and determination were crucial in the creation of a great local newspaper that has become a vital part of Camden life, while regularly winning publishing industry awards.
The fearsomeness was not always appreciated by those on the receiving end but the result was the development, alongside a first rate local newspaper, of numerous highly skilled young journalists several of whom went on to have successful careers in the national media.
Eric Gordon, who is as enthusiastic as ever, also proved himself to be an astute if unconventional businessman. He has helped to keep the CNJ afloat through the many crises of the last 40 years, while hundreds of other local titles across the UK were closing.
In addition two further local papers were founded, the Islington Tribune, another award-winning title, and the West End Extra (now the Westminster Extra) – neither financed in the traditional manner by the accumulation of debt but through using the income generated by the success of the CNJ.
In a normal company this dosh would have ended up in the bank accounts of shareholders and senior staff.
Equally as important to the CNJ’s success (Eric Gordon would, I suspect, claim even more important) was the support the fledgling CNJ received from local people, particularly those who took an active interest in what was happening in their locality.
They included Don Cook a great Camden campaigner, Terry Hargrave Camden Town, Tom Costello Somers Town, the indomitable Ellen Luby Kentish Town and latterly Somers Town, Alf Barrett down in Holborn, as well as John Mason, still active in King’s Cross – to mention but a few.
They rallied to support the fledging paper, voluntarily distributing copies round their neighbourhoods, supplying leads, news stories, and frequent letter-writing, beginning the development of what must be the most dynamic collection of letters pages to be found in any UK local newspaper.
It is this loyal local support that still exists today, along with the commitment of those who write the content, sell the advertising and produce and distribute the CNJ week after week, that will ensure the intoxicating mix that created and sustained the CNJ will endure and continue to flourish well into the future.
Head of distribution
New Journal Enterprises, NW1