Welcome to The Norwich Seeker

Hello and welcome to The Seeker, a weekly newsletter about Norwich by journalist Tom Bristow.

Welcome to The Norwich Seeker
Editor of The Norwich Seeker Shaun Lowthorpe. Credit: Simon Finlay

Our mission is to create a sustainable model for in-depth, quality journalism in Norwich.

The Seeker lands in your inbox every Saturday and Wednesday morning and gives you fresh takes on life in the city, with a focus on housing, health and the environment.

It is a non-profit, Community Interest Company so please subscribe today and spread the word (it's free!) and support independent, local journalism. Thank you!

Who is behind The Seeker?

The Seeker was set up by journalist Tom Bristow in September 2022 who ran it in his spare time. In July 2023, thanks to funding from Innovate UK, The Seeker was relaunched under new editor Shaun Lowthorpe and increased to two editions a week.

Shaun has been a journalist for 20 years, including as a political correspondent and the business editor of the EDP. He currently lectures in journalism at the UEA and teaches business management at City College Norwich. He lives in Hellesdon with his wife Emily and has two children, Nyle and Josephine. In his free time he coaches the Hellesdon Lions U10s football team.

Tom remains a director of The Seeker and reports to an oversight board whose members are Amanda Bunn, Dave Powles, Frances Goswell, Annelise Savill and Greg Smith.

Why now?

Most local journalism in the UK is in a precarious state and is still being supported by a defunct financial model. An analysis of how and why that happened would need far more time than you or I have today, but in short with traditional revenue streams drying up - print cover prices and advertising - titles have had to resort to ad-heavy, cheap-to-produce journalism to survive digitally.

That has meant a huge decline in in-depth reporting, features and investigations. The reading experience online is terrible on many local news sites, cluttered with ads, videos and pop-ups all of which slow the sites down and put people off reading them. The Seeker, by contrast, is hosted on a platform called Ghost which is fast to load, ad-free and gives you a great reader experience.

Why it matters

We believe the decline of traditional local journalism has left a huge void for those who want more from where they live. We don’t believe people have lost interest in their cities and towns, just that the stories around them are not being told and delivered in an accessible, interesting way. Our aim is to change that.

We believe that, when done right, journalism, especially local journalism, is a force for good. As the Washington Post’s famous strapline states: Democracy Dies In Darkness. We believe quality, local journalism makes Norwich a better place to live and benefits all of us.

Our work focuses on problems - and more importantly solutions - in three crucial areas - the environment, housing and our health system as we believe these are the biggest challenges facing Norwich in both the short and longer term.
We are not seeking to break the latest news but give you a more rounded, thoughtful viewpoint.

Who is funding you?

The Seeker’s initial set-up costs were paid for by its founder Tom Bristow. It is currently funded by a grant from Innovate UK, but long-term it will only survive with your support so please help spread the word if you like our work and values.

What does independent, in-depth and inclusive mean?

You’ll see our values - independent, in-depth and inclusive - across our website and newsletter. But how does that actually relate to what we are doing?

Independent: We're an independent publication, meaning we do not support any political party, elected officials or candidates. There are no advertisers on our site influencing our articles or editorial policy. We’re not owned by a media company, but run for our readers and have the freedom to write the way we want and about what we want.

In-depth: We’re not going to tell you part of the story and then move on, but give you the full picture and report on the issue long-term. That means returning to subjects weeks or months later to see how things have developed.

We’ll take time to speak to both sides and make sure what we produce is fair and accurate before publishing it. Our stories will be backed up with information you can trust and reliable data.

Inclusive: We want to include you - our subscribers - in our journalism to help make local journalism accessible to everyone regardless of their background. This is why we are launching with a subscriber model. We’re giving you, rather than wealthy advertisers or politicians, the power over local media.

We want a two-way relationship with our readers, where you’re informing us just as much as we’re hopefully informing you. If you are an expert in a particular area or you think there is something in Norwich we should be reporting on then please email editor@thenorwichseeker.co.uk