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Weekly beats the silly season with biggest ever paper

Summer may traditionally be a quiet time in newsrooms up and down the country – but not at The Orcadian, where staff have just produced the biggest paper in its 150-year history.

A 16-page farming feature, produced ahead of the islands’ traditional agricultural show season, has helped take this week’s paper up to 64 pages.

News editor Stuart Laundy said: “We are only a small staff, and everyone has put in a big effort to produce what for us is a huge paper.”

The Orcadian’s pagination has increased substantially during 2004 to coincide with the paper’s 150th anniversary.

Stuart said: “We started the year with a bang, producing a 20-page anniversary supplement with the January 1 dateline on it, and there has been no looking back since.

“We gave the paper a bit of a facelift for the anniversary – nothing too dramatic, more an effort to brighten it up a bit – and have introduced new columns, loads of competitions and bumped up our coverage of the local entertainments and sports scene.

“The effect has been quite dramatic. A year ago, the average size of the paper was probably about 40 pages.

“Now we are averaging 48 or 52, but turning out 64 this week was a bit special – even if it did mean missing England’s win over the Windies on Sunday for the sake of churning out a few farming pages!”

Next on the agenda for the paper is an open day on August 21, when staff will throw open the doors of their print centre and let the public come in and see how the paper is produced.

Stuart said: “It will be a really fun day. We’ll be giving people the chance to ‘star’ in their own front page, as well as letting them see the presses roll.

“We’ve got goodie bags to give away to the kids, as well as asking them to name our new mascot – the Orcadian bug!”

  • With a large subscriber base of Orcadians who have moved away from the islands, the paper is unique in that it sells more copies each week than there are houses in the county, with a weekly circulation of more than 11,000.

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