Over the last six months I’ve been working with two fantastic community newspapers in Edinburgh, The Craigmillar Chronicle and The North Edinburgh News.
I was recruited to help them adopt blogging and social media tools to reach a wider audience. We launched a new website for The Chronicle last year, and the new NEN blog just a few days ago. Both are using twitter.
But today Edinburgh City Council are expected to cut the core funding for both these organisations. They are expected to close, after over thirty years of printing.
Once there were community papers across Edinburgh – in Wester Hailes, Tollcross, Gorgie and Dalry.
The gradual closure of these papers over time may in part represent the realities of competition with digital media, and more recently, severe budgetary pressures on council’s across the UK.
But it is still a great loss to those communities, and to the city. The local council continues to publish its own newspapers. But these are not regarded as independent, grassroots papers, but as PR for the council.
Both these papers face either closure, or a painful transition. Whether they survive at all remains to be seen.
You can find out whether the Council approves the cuts by following the hastag #edinburghcouncil and #cuts this afternoon.
UPDATE – 19:00
After a meeting lasting nearly nine hours, Edinburgh City Council finally voted to cut the funding of both the Craigmillar Chronicle, and the North Edinburgh News, by 100% – despite the efforts of Chronicle and NEN staff, who had done a brilliant job with their new blogs and twitter streams.
Whilst things seem bleak for the papers, it’s not yet the end of the story. I’ll keep you posted on continuing efforts to save these community papers, by seeking new sources of funding and new methods of distribution.