Orkney weekly to close before the end of the year

Weekly newspaper Orkney Today is to cease publication in December - little over seven years after it launched.

Owner Orkney Media Group said last week that it planned to close the paid-for weekly newspaper due to falling advertising and circulation revenue.

In a statement posted on the newspaper's website on Thursday morning, Orkney Media Group said: "It is with considerable regret that Orkney Media Group proposes that the Orkney Today newspaper will close.

"The company has reluctantly concluded that the newspaper is non-viable following unsustainable drops in advertising revenue and circulation over a number of years.

'Orkney Media Group management and the newspaper's excellent staff have tried a number of initiatives to reverse the fortunes of the newspaper but to no avail. A consultation process will now be undertaken with affected staff and their representatives."

Orkney Today was launched in October 2003. A take-over of Orkney Today Ltd by the publisher of rival title The Orcadian in 2007 led to the formation of Orkney Media Group and the two weeklies being published by the same company.

A source close to the paper told Press Gazette that Orkney Today came under fierce competition from the 156 year-old Orcadian, which was published a day earlier each week and shared the same building as its rival, forcing its closure.

Management is set for talks with the National Union of Journalists next week and it is not yet clear what will happen to the nine staff – five of whom are journalists - after the last edition of Orkney Today is published on 9 December.

According to the most recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Orkney Today averaged a weekly sale of 4,797 during the first half of the year. This was a year-on-year decline of 9.7 per cent.

The Orcadian fared better with a weekly sale of 9,297, down 2.5 per cent year on year.

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