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Newspaper honours reporter who died at 39 with new award

Craig-FinlayA journalist who died aged 39 has been honoured by his old newspaper with a memorial award being named after him.

The Midlothian Advertiser has announced the competition in memory of Craig Finlay, left, who was found dead at his home in 2015.

The contest, run with Midlothian Council’s education service, has seen pupils from high schools across the Advertiser’s patch submitting articles they have written about local matters which are important to them.

The article’s will be published on the Advertiser’s website this weekend, and the piece which subseuqently receives the most ‘likes’ will appear in the next edition of the paper with its writer receiving book vouchers as a prize.

The initiative forms part of the Advertiser’s ‘Local News Matters’ campaign, highlighting the importance of local journalism.

In a piece about the campaign, reporter Kevin Quinn wrote: “When I moved to the Advertiser in October 2012, I and two other reporters were overseen by an editor, while we had a full-time photographer taking photos on week days and a freelance photographer available every Saturday to cover sport.

“Fast forward six years and I am now the sole news reporter for the Advertiser and The Buteman. Given the advances in technology, I am able to report on events for both titles working remotely from home in Edinburgh.”

“This is the stark reality the local newspaper industry faces these days, with print in sharp decline since the turn of the century. However, I firmly believe local journalism is as important now as it has ever been.

“Despite a fall in circulation numbers for our print edition, the Advertiser reaches thousands online every day meaning it is read by more people than ever before. Our readers are able to communicate with us directly through social media and immediately share their views on the stories affecting their communities. It is this connection with the residents of Midlothian that for me is the key point to local journalism.

“I know that the appetite for local news is greater than ever. And with Midlothian the fastest growing local authority area in Scotland, the need to keep local residents up to speed with the news directly affecting them is only going to continue to increase.”

A recent reorganisation within the company means Kevin reports to the Scottish weeklies editor Janet Bee, who oversees 22 titles, covered by 13 reporters.

Janet’s appointment follows former Scottish weeklies’ editorial director Colin Hume’s move into a company-wide learning and development role.