The story so far
Exeter Observer began publishing in April 2019. Its community-owned reader-funded business model sustains other successful local public interest journalism publishers across the UK.
Martin Redfern is Exeter Observer’s editor and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited. He writes many of our news stories and features, leads on investigative research and maintains the Exeter Observer website.
Martin is an accredited UK press card holder, a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and the Society of Editors and holds a masters degree in Journalism with distinction at Birkbeck, University of London.
Leigh Curtis is Exeter Observer’s community and culture editor and membership co-ordinator and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited. She writes most of our community and culture stories and manages our growing membership.
Leigh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, and leads on design and marketing as well as dealing with Exeter Observer’s financial and administrative management including member meetings.
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations.”
Often misattributed to George Orwell
In its first year of publishing Exeter Observer established the editorial track record and high standards required for membership of IMPRESS, ICNN and BBC Local News Partnerships. We also ran two community journalism training courses with supporting specialist topic workshops aimed at assembling a volunteer team. Then the pandemic put project development on hold.
We kept publishing and incorporated the community benefit society as a vehicle to take things forward when it became possible to do so. Our readership grew steadily and we rebuilt the website to improve the user experience, lower production overheads and enable greater flexibility to experiment with new formats and ideas.
In April 2021 we raised £50,000 of share investment to finance a two-year development strategy. We set up administration and financial management systems, became an employer, increased our publishing rate and launched our email newsletter, The Exeter Digest.
Twelve months later website traffic and subscriber numbers had both doubled, and in January this year we published our 300th story and passed 250,000 monthly page views.
We have so far published work by sixteen volunteer contributors and now employ two staff, Leigh and Martin.
More about Exeter Observer
- Independent, investigative, in the public interest
- Journalism with community benefit at its heart
- The story so far
- Distribution & promotion
- Democracy doesn't work when people don't know
- Legacy local news
- Exeter media in perspective
- Local news that matters
Exeter Observer is published by Exeter Observer Limited, Community Benefit Society No. 8435 registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
Our registered address is St Sidwell’s Community Centre, Sidwell Street, Exeter EX4 6NN.