February’s ‘Living In Havering’ breaks new ground. Damian White’s photo presence is reduced to ‘only’ six but this isn’t the principal change. ‘Living in Havering’ is sponsored by Wates Residential and reads like a PR newsletter. They completely dominate the magazine. So the obvious question is: did they pay for the entire production and delivery costs?
Wates Residential control the feel of ‘Living in Havering’. They have corner adverts on 13 pages, acknowledgements on the front and back cover and six pages of editorial content. Page three has a ‘promo’ photo facing page two alongside further Wates Residential mentions. Wates Residential’s presence is 24 of 40 pages.
So what? If ‘Living in Havering’ requires sponsorship and Wates Residential demanded a pervasive presence then that’s the price of business on this occasion. But why did Havering need sponsorship? ‘Living in Havering’ issued a special South Havering edition last August. This emptied the budget. Did Havering have to go cap in hand to an important partner? Having begged for sponsorship of ‘Living in Havering’ and then having bowed the knee, did they have to take whatever terms they were offered?
February’s ‘Living in Havering’ is a humiliation for this borough.