In these troubled times for newspapers, the Press and Journal is weathering the storm better than most. Further evidence, perhaps, that it is its local reporting in the north of Scotland that is keeping its circulation above water came today with its deep coverage of the after-effects of the flooding that swept across its patch.
‘Heartache Amid the Havoc as Massive Mop-up Begins’ signals its front page splash, unveiling the tale of a road-crash victim in Fraserburgh, plus the efforts of the rescue services through the north-east and Tayside. Eschewing the parochial path of ‘Rail Line Closed, Rest of World Cut off from Aberdeen’, it is an old-fashioned piece of solid coverage of a nationally-noticed story on the doorstep, grabbing the human interest lines from residents in Huntly, Stonehaven and Moray, while assessing the costs.
Its comment leader praises the community spirit but also calls on government to improve its contingency plans for such situations. And adjoining that, the paper also raises the question of why no-one suitable has applied for the vacant GP position on the Shetland isle of Whalsay, despite the offer of an £86,000 salary, “four months’ annual holiday, access to a fine 18-hole golf course and just 1100 patients”.
Remaining on the Isles, the P&J also reports on hopes that an oil and gas discovery, west of Shetland, may be brought into production after successful exploration.
Walking away with the local celebrity 'story du jour' is the fundraising walk of golfer, Colin Montgomerie, and former rugby star, Gavin Hastings, that will take the pair up the West Highland Way. Purely coincidental, we’re sure, but the paper also reveals that swine flu vaccinations have begun in the region as well.
There’s an interview with local Olympic heroine, Katherine Grainger, on why she is still aiming to land gold at London 2012 after picking up silver at three consecutive Games.
The P&J is also trumpeting the new column of the Aberdeen FC manager, Mark McGhee, which spotlights Rangers and Liverpool in Europe, like the paper, finding local takes on issues elsewhere.