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The Comet is a weekly newspaper covering the English towns of Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock, as well as the surrounding villages in north Hertfordshire and south-east Bedfordshire. It is based in Stevenage and part of the Archant group.[2] The vast majority of its copies are delivered locally or picked up as a free newspaper, but it is also sold.[1] It is published each Thursday in three editions[5]—one concentrates on the Stevenage area, another focuses on Hitchin and a third pays particular attention to Letchworth and Baldock.[6] Nick Gill has been editor since January 2017;[3] previous permanent editors were Darren Isted (2002–14) and John Francis, who retired in June 2016.[7]

The Comet
PublisherArchant Herts & Cambs[2]
EditorNick Gill[3]
  • May 1971; 48 years ago (1971-05)
  • (as the Stevenage Sun)[4]
HeadquartersStevenage, United Kingdom[2]
  • 66,791 weekly
  • (98.4% free; 2014)[1]
Sister newspapersRoyston Crow[5]

The paper was formed in May 1971 as the successor to the long-established Hertfordshire Pictorial, a paid-for weekly whose three editions covered Letchworth and Baldock, Hitchin and Stevenage. The free paper was originally named the Stevenage Sun, Hitchin Sun or Letchworth Sun, depending on the edition. The Comet name was adopted after less than a month after the national newspaper The Sun threatened legal action. Subsequent attempts by the Surrey Comet to prevent the Comet name being used were seen off.[4]

The Comet's average circulation, counting all three editions together, was 66,791 in 2014—29,087 for the Stevenage edition, 17,953 for Hitchin, and 19,751 for the Letchworth and Baldock version.[1] Of those 98.4% were delivered or picked up free and 1.6% were paid for.[1] The three editions of The Comet are offered free of charge on the paper's website as "e-editions" on the same day as publication.[6]

Under Isted's editorship, The Comet was named the UK's "free newspaper of the year" at the Regional Press Awards in 2007.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Group Combined Total Circulation Certificate – July to December 2014" (PDF). Berkhamsted: Audit Bureau of Circulations. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "How to contact us". The Comet. Stevenage: Archant Herts & Cambs. 20 October 2016. p. 42.
  3. ^ a b "Nick Gill becomes new editor of Archant's Comet and Royston Crow titles". The Comet. Stevenage: Archant Herts & Cambs. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies Union List of Local Newspaper Holdings". Hertford: Hertfordshire County Council. December 2007. pp. 22–23, 52–53. Archived from the original (pdf) on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b "About Us". Stevenage: Archant Herts & Cambs. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "E-edition". Stevenage: Archant Herts & Cambs. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Seven Days". The Comet. Stevenage: Archant Herts & Cambs. 16 June 2016. p. 5.
  8. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (2 July 2007). "Belfast Telegraph named newspaper of the year". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 16 January 2016. The Comet, Hertfordshire, was named free newspaper of the year.

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