Lack of advertising forces backers to fold Hebridean after nine months

A Scottish weekly tabloid launched only nine months ago has ceased publication.

The Hebridean, which was based in Stornoway and served the Western Isles, was in head-to-head competition with the long-established weekly, the Stornoway Gazette.

The paper was funded by a consortium of local businessmen which last week pulled the plug on the eve of publication because of a lack of advertising.

It is understood that staff had been seeking a sympathetic financial backer for a staff buyout but the paper closed before they were able to make any serious headway.

Iain Maciver, the second editor of the paper, and writer/photographer Eric Mackinnon have both lost their jobs.

Maciver, who previously ran his own news agency in the Western Isles, is returning to freelancing, while Mackinnon is seeking a new job.

The Hebridean had been selling approximately 4,000 copies compared with the Stornoway Gazette, which has sales of about 12,000.

The Gazette had responded to the challenge of its new competitor by improving its editorial content and introducing colour.

A spokeswoman for Isles Media, The Hebridean’s trading company, said: “We made every effort to keep the paper going but there was not sufficient advertising to support it.”

The company has retained two production staff and will now concentrate on other aspects of its operation, including web design, graphic work, advertising and PR.

The Hebridean’s launch editor, Peter Urpeth, who was a former editor of the Gazette, is now freelancing in the Western Isles. Maciver replaced him as editor three months ago.

By Hamish Mackay

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