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North Edinburgh News facing closure after thirty years

posted 8 Jul 2010, 05:09 by myEdinburgh Admin

Community newspaper The North Edinburgh News may soon not be a viable concern.

The North Edinburgh News occupies a modest but highly visible office on Crewe Road North, next door to a cluster of shops and businesses, and a bus stop. It's a good site for a paper because people can wander in with stories, and often do, according to Mary Burnside, the NEN editor.

Today, however, it's relatively quiet, as the paper's small staff await delivery of the latest edition of the paper from the printers. The top story - Craigroyston High School's impressive performance in the recent World Maths Day competition. The school came first in the UK, 8th in Europe, and 32nd in the world, the kind of good news story about the area that the NEN was set up to promote.

"The paper was set up by the community because everything they read in the Scotsman and the Evening News about North Edinburgh was about crime and junkies" says Burnside. The core aim of the paper ever since, she says, has been to "provide relevant information to local people, and provide a platform for their voices."

The community paper prints 14,500 newspapers every month with an estimated readership of around 35,000. But Burnside says that, after years of cuts, the paper is coming to the end of its life - unless new sources of funding can be found soon.

The paper, and a number of other community papers across Edinburgh, were previosuly funded by the council through the Edinburgh Community Newspapers Trust.

The council still produces its own newspapers, at a cost of more than £155,000 per annum. It has even recently began to produce locally oriented editions or "wraps" - but funding for community papers was cut three years ago.

The council says that competing priorities and the understanding that the papers would find their own sustainable sources of income meant that the funding had to end. But the result was that independent papers like The West Edinburgh Times and The South Edinburgh Echo, and The Gorgie-Dalry Gazette, which had been operating for twenty five years, had to close.

Full story from The Guardian