Another title launched by growing newspaper group

A GROWING Scottish newspaper group has launched yet another newspaper title – its second within 12 months.

Forth Independent Newspapers – publisher of the paid-for weekly Clackmannanshire newspaper, Wee County News – has launched Strathallan News, adding to a growing portfolio that in October saw the launch of Eastwood Today.

Strathallan News is a free weekly title, with a circulation of 7,500, and serves the likes of Auchterarder, Comrie, Crieff and Gleneagles.

Since a management buy-out of Wee County News seven years ago, Forth Independent Newspapers has launched four new free, weekly titles: Allanwater News (three years ago, serving Bridge of Allan and Dunblane, circ 8000), Eastside News (a year ago, serving villages east of Stirling, circ 8000), Eastwood Today (October, serving Eastwood in Renfrewshire, circ 17,500) plus the Strathallan News. Four years ago, it acquired the East Kilbride Mail (circ 25,000).

Wee County News retails at 41p.

Another launch is expected in autumn, though its location is – for obvious reasons – a closely-guarded secret.

“We’ve stuck to our business plan, though – don’t get me wrong – these are very tough times. But every member of staff works very hard indeed, goes that ‘extra mile’,” says Forth Independent Newspapers’ managing director, Pauline McCart. “We look for areas we consider are not being that well served by their existing newspaper and do a lot of market research before deciding whether to launch a paper. There have been times when we have decided not to launch.”

McCart invested in the management buy-out having previously been with the Galloway Gazette group – as managing director. Her career has included the free, The Glaswegian newspaper (where she was general manager), Business am (where she ran the subscriptions office when the paper began) and the central Scotland titles formally published by Archant (before they were bought by Johnston Press) such as the Eastwood Extra and the Milngavie and Bearsden Courier – where she was sales manager.