Championing Local Voices: The BV, a rural Dorset magazine, wins prestigious national award

A couple from Dorset has taken on the task of raising up their rural community through the power of journalism. Their efforts have now been recognised on a national level, with The BV Magazine winning the Newspaper & Magazine Awards ‘Regional Publication of the Year’ by the Association of Circulation Executives (ACE).

The BV Magazine is still just the two-person team – Laura and Courtenay Hitchcock – that launched it in 2020 amid the pandemic. It has always focused on the rural heart of Dorset, and has swiftly become a vital resource for the oft-forgotten modern rural community, growing from an audience of zero to currently reaching 250,000 people a month. Driven by a desire to provide quality, thoughtful content that supports the rural area, the couple firmly believe that it is their commitment to freely accessible, good quality journalism which has been the cornerstone of their success.

The publication stood out to the judges for its high editorial standards, flexibility, innovation and commitment to supporting the rural community. The judges highlighted The BV’s strong results, particularly noting its impressive social media engagement, and that all is achieved by just a dedicated two-person team.

It was a competitive field, winning against distinguished publications such as Brighton’s Newsquest-owned The Argus, one of Ireland’s oldest newspapers, The Impartial Reporter, and Wales’ largest newspaper, The Western Mail. The award highlights The BV’s commitment to supporting the oft-forgotten modern rural community, and the impact good local media can have on local businesses and issues.

On the night of May 22nd, the London Marriott Grosvenor Square hosted the prestigious event, which saw 18 hotly anticipated categories contested by a record number of high-quality entries.

‘We are absolutely thrilled to win – we have a wide team of expert contributors, but at the sharp end it’s just the two of us, and producing The BV is a constant, mammoth task! To achieve recognition at such a high-level means everything,” said Laura Hitchcock, editor of The BV. “Perhaps because we were new to the industry and launching a completely new publication, we weren’t afraid to try new ideas and push boundaries.’
‘We’ve worked incredibly hard,’ says Courtenay. ‘Not just to build our magazine, but also our readership, our community and our reputation – our readers know when they see the big green V, they’re getting not only something that looks beautiful, but which is filled with relevant, thoughtful, and entertaining content. We’re grateful to our contributors, to our advertisers for their support, and also of course to our readers.’

The BV’s approach blends traditional journalism with modern digital techniques to produce a high-end, 110+ page monthly publication filled with positive, intelligent, and genuinely local content. The magazine’s focus on raising up local people, communities, and businesses, while investigating local issues without sensationalism, has earned it a dedicated readership … and now industry recognition.
In addition to the NMA win, The BV has been shortlisted for a second major national award – the AoP’s Digital Publishing Awards, set to take place in June.

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