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Political activist founds ‘alternative’ local news website

Fiona GrahameAn “alternative” online-only news venture has been founded to highlight stories which its publishers claim are “not being fully covered” on its patch.

The Orkney News, a community-based and not-for-profit website covering the Scottish islands, went live last month.

The website has been founded by Fiona Grahame, a Green Party activist who attempted to get the islands’ Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael unseated over his role in the leaking of an official memo about Nicola Sturgeon’s views on the 2015 general election.

In an interview in The National newspaper, Fiona said the site will aim to offer “a range of political viewpoints”.

Fiona, pictured above left, said: “We only have one newspaper in Orkney, The Orcadian. There have been others in the past like Orkney Today and although that was a good-quality newspaper they tended to cover all the same things.

“Also, we only have one radio station, BBC Radio Orkney, which is only on for half an hour in the morning on weekdays and then a half-hour evening slot in the winter.

“So, a group of us felt that there was space – particularly with online – for a newspaper that would cover stories affecting Orkney that The Orcadian and BBC Radio Orkney maybe weren’t covering or not covering in the same way.

“It is story-driven, so we’re concentrating on small businesses and people in the community who are making a positive difference.”

The seven-person team behind the News say they have managed to line up regular political columnists including SNP list MSP Maree Todd and Labour MEP David Martin has agreed to write a column.

Fiona added: “We have already sold advertising space, so that’s good; we’re a dot-Scot domain because we felt that was important and we’re all just running with the idea.”