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West Country Voices is a regional online newspaper powered by citizen journalism. We provide a means by which local people in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset can share their stories and interests and raise the profile of issues impacting on their lives, often because their elected representatives have fallen short of expectations and promises.
We are proudly independent: volunteer-run and free from corporate backing, advertising or government interference. This enables us to genuinely speak truth to power with full editorial freedom.
Our political values are progressive and internationalist. We are party-blind but policy-focused and pro electoral reform. We believe in a kinder world that puts people before profit, that values cooperation and inclusiveness, and that looks after our planet. We aim to be part of a new ethical, pro-reform and empathetic media that serves the public not the powerful or any particular party.
Founded in June 2020, we started out as West Country Bylines, part of Bylines Networks. In January 2022 we relaunched as West Country Voices, a spin-off with a more campaign-driven stance and a commitment to remain ad-free and volunteer-run. We have two patrons: Peter Jukes, founder of Byline Times, our mentor and inspiration; and David Haysey, who has backed our team from the very start.
In the publication’s short lifetime we have seen our government sink deeper into a mire of lies, incompetence and broken promises. Our mission is to highlight the shortcomings of our elected representatives and to shine a light on issues and debates which affect us on a national or regional level.
We use our voice to call for change.
Add your voice!
How to contribute
Are you shouting at the news or frustrated about issues that are important to you that aren’t getting airtime? Why not add your voice to ours?
Campaigning journalism works, as this article explains.
We welcome contributions from new writers. Perhaps you have specific areas of expertise, or an under-represented perspective you would like to share. We aim to communicate real stories from people at the coalface, rather than articles derived from press releases or carefully constructed PR soundbites.
Our content spans political news and opinion pieces, local issues, lifestyle and human-interest articles. It is always relevant to the West Country, though that may be from a local, regional, national or international perspective.
We aim for the highest standards of writing, research and accuracy, and all contributions are subject to review by our editorial team; however, we will always seek to retain the writer’s unique voice.
If you have a story that needs a voice, contact the team by emailing the regional editor, copying in firstname.lastname@example.org:
Our voices – meet the team
Our editorial board includes people from each of the four counties in our region, and from a range of political backgrounds and none.
Anthea Simmons – editor-in-chief: I am passionate about editing and writing for West Country Voices because I care about truth, social justice and democracy and we are ill-served by the mainstream media and this government. WCV aims to give a voice to the voiceless. I try to ensure we have headlines, content and images that enable us to reach beyond our bubble and to counter misinformation.
Sarah Cowley – I’m Dorset editor for West Country Voices because I believe in democracy and human rights, honesty and integrity in politics and that everyone should have the chance to read (or write about) the truth of what is happening in our country, for good or ill.
Mick Fletcher – Somerset editor and writer: I write and help source articles for West Country Voices because I want to help counter the anti-democratic and anti-European messages put out by so much of the mainstream media. I also want to highlight the good things going on in our communities when people work together to bring about change for the common good.
Rachel Marshall – Devon editor and writer: Contributing to West Country Voices allows me to bring together my publishing industry experience and my exasperation at the current course of the UK, to participate in a publication that challenges the simplistic narratives and government soundbites that much of the media offers.
Tom Scott – Cornwall editor and writer: We could sit around for a very long time waiting for the mass media to step up and hold abuses of power properly to account. West Country Voices takes a more positive approach by offering a platform for citizen journalists to do this themselves. It’s a real pleasure to be working with such a talented team of writers and editors, all of them dedicated to giving readers a fresh view of what’s happening in the world around us. And it’s exciting to see that we’re reaching a steadily growing number of readers in the West Country and beyond.
Anna Andrews – proofreader and writer: I write and proof-read for West Country Voices because it helps inform people about things the government doesn’t want us to notice.
Anthea Bareham – proofreader and picture editor: I choose my news source carefully: independent ownership and honest reporting are key, followed by good journalism – West Country Voices ticks all the boxes and I am proud to be a member of the team.
Lucy-Ann Pope – proofreader: I volunteer with West Country Voices as a proofreader because I believe citizen journalism offers an authentic and valuable alternative perspective on political and socio-economic issues which affect our daily lives.
Mike Zollo – proofreader and writer: I contribute to West Country Voices because after a lifetime in language teaching, and with a strong public-service ethic, I believe passionately in a strong EU with the UK at its heart, in counteracting anti-EU press reporting, and in holding the government to account.
Alex Pilkington – graphic design, website tech admin and treasurer. I look after the technical aspects of our online presence from the website to our social media and communication channels. I create some of the graphics we use. I am also the treasurer. I have also written a couple of articles! It’s great to be involved in a team of highly talented volunteers and writers who create outstanding content to a very professional standard.