Local newspaper founder urges journalists to 'give it a go'

A new monthly title has been launched in the Outer Hebrides – and its editor is now urging fellow journalists to launch similar titles on “shoestring” budgets.

The Island News & Advertiser is a free title covering the Uists and Harris and is funded by advertising from local businesses.

Its founder and managing editor Susy Macaulay, a journalist for more than 30 years, launched the paper to give the ‘fragile’community n a voice.

She said: ‘We often fall through the net as a small community and there has been a lot of praise from local people.’

‘We have so many issues to face on our islands,’she added. ‘We are very fragile and it is very important that we speak to each other and to politicians.”

The title is distributed to 40 outlets from Eriskay to Stornoway, two Glasgow and Inverness Gaelic schools and five Cal Mac Ferries serving the Western Isles and is understood to have a circulation in the low thousands.

Fighting against a national decline in local newspaper sales, Macaulay said there was still an appetite for local print-based news.

The team consists of Macaulay and a designer and the only initial outgoings were computing equipment and newspaper dump bins.

According to Macaulay, the paper is expected to break even in the second issue and possibly make a small profit by the third.

Macaulay is now encouraging other journalists who believe their local community is not well served to launch new titles.

She said: ‘From my experience so far I see that there is still a real appetite and need for local news, and people are still happy with the printed page.

‘I would encourage any journalist out there who sees a gap in their local area to give it a go. It can be done on a shoestring and your community will soon get behind you if you do it right.

She added: ‘Try and represent the community and be careful not to have a political colour. Rise above gossip and report what is important to local people.”

Islandnewsandadvertiser.com will go live shortly as a rolling news service.

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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