Running a newspaper is a bit like having a child. It is a labour of love, you are working with a living breathing, crying happy, fully sentient being, it can do no wrong. When you launch a new title it is even worse, like having a newborn to continue the analogy.
So at the end of 2013 we felt it would be good to set up an advisory board. The idea is to have a sounding board of people who are independent of our papers but through their day job and standing bring expertise, knowledge and wisdom that we can draw upon. Hopefully before we make an error of judgement but in the event that its too late, to help solve the problem with the least damage to all concerned.
Our advisory board comprises Anthony Gibson, Barry Winetrobe and Paul Bell.
Anthony Gibson has lived in Langport since 1998. “It’s a warm-hearted, unpretentious town”, he says, “surrounded by beautiful countryside and, in Eli’s, has the best pub in Somerset”. He is a former Regional Director of the NFU, who still writes about farming for the regional press and is heavily involved in flooding and related issues through his chairmanship of the Levels and Moors Task Force. Anthony is also a director of the Royal Bath and West and of the charity Farms for City Children. Aside from being a published author, his other interests include cider, West Country literature, golf and, above all, cricket, as a commentator on Somerset cricket for the BBC.
Barry Winetrobe is a constitutional lawyer, who worked for many years in the Research Service of the House of Commons. He was seconded to help set up the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. He has taught at several universities around the UK on public law, parliament and government, and has written and spoken widely on these subjects. He is now a (semi-retired) constitutional consultant, working with parliaments overseas and in the UK and blogging occasionally on topical issues. He is very interested in researching the history and heritage of the wider Langport area, through the local History Society and otherwise, and he helped set up and chairs the Bagehot Memorial Fund, which commemorates Langport’s most famous citizen, Walter Bagehot. Barry has lived in Somerset for 8 years, all but 3 months of which in Langport.
Paul Bell is a writer, political strategist and communications specialist whose work over 35 years has focused on political and democratic development and electoral management, conflict resolution and counter-terrorism. As a journalist Paul worked on titles in the UK and in South Africa where he reported on the politics of South Africa’s complex and turbulent transition from apartheid to majority rule. He held senior posts on several leading newspapers and is a two-time winner of the Mondi Gold, South Africa’s leading award for magazine journalism. He has consulted to political figures in South Africa and the United Kingdom (where he wrote speeches for the Leader of the Opposition and members of the Shadow Cabinet). In 2008 he was appointed chief executive of Bell Pottinger Sans Frontières, the Group’s strategic and geopolitical communications agency, and later of the Bell Pottinger Group of companies. In 2012 he joined Albany Associates to devote himself full-time to communications in countries struggling to overcome conflict and the challenges of political transition. Paul is a Trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People which operates in more than 160 countries offering development programmes to more than 750,000 new entrants each year.