– Amanda Coakes contributed to this report.

Journalism and PR students were treated to an invaluable insight into the workings of an independent local magazine from owner and editor, Tony Copeland, as the popular “Journalists Speak out on Journalism” talks returned.

Copeland was a last minute stand in for the talk and spoke about his publication, The Bailgate Independent. With a distribution of 10,000 and running for more than 12 years, it has been a massive success and is an established feature of Lincoln business news.

Professor Richard Keeble led the talk alongside a student panel, who questioned the editor, although the floor soon opened to the rest of the students, who unleashed a barrage of questions of their own.

The main theme of the talk was to highlight the links between PR and journalism as The Bailgate Independent applies a 50/50 approach to advertisements and editorials. This is due to the fact that the magazine is free; an aspect that Copeland said he had considered changing but ultimately decided against.

One topic that was revisited throughout the talk was the use of the Internet and particularly the use of social media to further the magazine. A website is already in place where the latest editions of the magazine can be viewed. In a buck against what is increasingly becoming the current trend, Copeland revealed that the addition of the website has not harmed distribution.

However he, at first, seemed reluctant to include Facebook or Twitter in his plans as he felt this would not correspond to his target audience, who he identified as being 35 plus and affluent. By the end of the talk, students had managed to change his mind and an offer of work experience was made to any students who thought they would be able to set this up.

As well as talking about the magazine, Copeland offered advice, telling students that to succeed you had to try something different.  He was also willing to take on volunteers to provide them with the elusive and valuable work experience that all journalism students need.

Aaron Faunch, an MA Journalism student who attended the event, said: “It was great to hear from a man that has made a success in print journalism, when so many others are struggling.

“He answered dozens of questions with surprising honesty that was really revealing about how to run a publication. It was refreshing to see him so open to ideas from students. I think he is going to have a problem with eager young journalists begging him for valuable experience in his magazine.”

Copies of The Bailgate Independent are available to pick up in Marks and Spencer and Waitrose.