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Local ownership the key for new weekly venture

The Hebridean will be published for the first time tomorrow when a project to bring a second weekly newspaper to the Western Isles of Scotland becomes reality.

Editor Peter Urpeth is working with local freelance journalists Iain Maciver and Eric Mackinnon to produce the new paper, which is being designed by Stuart Groundsell.

The 32-page colour tabloid will cover a circulation area that stretches 180 miles over a chain of islands and sea that ranges from a Presbyterian population in the north to Catholic islanders in the south.

Editor Peter said: “There are proud and distinctive communities here and this is a strong newspaper-buying area. We have gone out of our way to work with other local news sheets and community correspondents.

“We wanted to produce a newspaper reflective of contemporary life in the islands – which is a lot more diverse than people on the outside would think.

“Between us the Hebridean’s staff have quite a bit of experience in the tabloid press in Scotland.”

The first edition will lead with a story about… itself. The square-shaped pages will also contain a bound-in eight-page consumer supplement The Weekender.

Part of the thinking behind the venture was to bring a locally-owned newspaper to the area, after the Stornoway Gazette was owned by RIM, Johnston Press and now Scottish Radio Holdings, all within the space of two years.

The Hebridean is financed by a group of local businesspeople who founded the company Island Media to bring it to life.

One of the investors, Kenny MacIver, is, like Peter, a former editor of the Stornoway Gazette, so both know the area well.

The project has been two years in the making, with the editor working on it full-time from February. A local shop owner is selling the advertising.

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