Now you see it, now you don’t, and now it’s back on the streets of Oxford again. The paper that can claim to be one of the first free newspapers in the UK has been resurrected and is once again competing with Newsquest’s freesheet the Oxford Star. Tri-Media, which also publishes the Basingstoke Observer and the Oxfordshire Guardian were probably asking too much from their highly stretched news team when they first relaunched the Journal more than a year ago, and it lasted for only a few editions. This time, however, reporter James Booker says the paper not only has a sustainable future, but they are determined to outperform the Star on news coverage.
The price of giving greater resources to the Journal has been the loss of separate West Oxfordshire and South Oxfordshire editions of the Oxfordshire Guardian. Most of the content is now shared, except for the front page and the sports coverage. The net result is that the city which already enjoys by far the strongest news coverage of any part of the county is now getting an additional, and welcome, source of news, while parts of the county that are starved of coverage are paying the price.