Capital Community Papers Fear for Funding

Two Edinburgh-based newspapers that have served their respective local communities for more than 30 years could soon be facing closure.

North Edinburgh News and the Craigmillar Chronicle, which reach an estimated 57,000 readers a month between them, have voiced concerns that their main source of finance may be withdrawn as of next year.

The two freesheets, along with other independent titles across Edinburgh, lost funding from the Edinburgh Community Newspaper Trust three years ago.

While the West Edinburgh Times, the South Edinburgh Echo, and the Gorgie-Dalry Gazette have since stopped printing, North Edinburgh News and the Chronicle have managed to keep going with the help of the Fairer Scotland Fund.

However, changes in the way funds are distributed, due to be implemented next year, may mean both community papers lose their lifeline.

Editor of the North Edinburgh News, Mary Burnside, told allmediascotland: “At the moment our board of directors and staff are looking at trying to find other sources of funding.

“The Fairer Scotland Fund ends in March. We receive our last payment in January, which is to last three months, and I don't see us getting any more after that. 

“So come December time our Board of Directors are going to have to make a decision. If they haven’t got any more money in by then, they’re going to have to issue staff with redundancy notices and start winding up the project.”

A cash injection of approximately £45,000 would be the “absolute minimum” required for the 32 year-old paper to survive, adds Burnside, who has been at the organisation for two decades.

“The people in North Edinburgh really feel passionate about their paper,” says Burnside. “They have a real sense of ownership. It’s their platform for getting their point across. People love it and they trust it.

“That’s why we keep going under the circumstances – because we know it’s valued.”

The neighbouring Craigmillar Chronicle, which serves approximately 22,000 readers each month, also faces an uncertain future due to the potential parlous state of its finances come next March.

Comments Sally Fraser, who has spent 23 years at the title: “We can’t afford to sit on our laurels here. We have to, and have been, proactively looking at other sources of funding but it’s very difficult when you’re a community newspaper. There are not many funding streams open to newspapers.”