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Editor issues staffing plea to readers as she leaves weekly after 16 years

Melinda GillenAn editor has urged readers to help keep local newspapers adequately staffed after leaving the weekly she had been in charge of for 16 years.

Melinda Gillen has warned the public they need to be “willing to pay” for local┬ájournalists in a farewell editorial for the Stornoway Gazette.

Melinda, pictured, oversaw the Gazette’s victories in the Best Newspaper and Best Website categories at the 2013 Highlands and Islands Media Awards, as well as a redesign which saw the paper move from broadsheet to compact size.

In her editorial, she described changes to the newspaper industry as an “ongoing challenge” which has been the “death-knell” for many local titles.

Melinda wrote: “At a local level the only way to get more local news is to support your local paper, not only by reading it, but also with engagement and through advertising.

“Adequate staffing to deliver the local news people crave must be paid for and that can only happen if the public are willing to pay.

“These days many see social media platforms as a way of getting their news, but these platforms are not regulated and often present gossip, or skewed facts as the truth.

“They are more useful as debate platforms rather than a way of properly informing yourself about important matters.”

Gazette owner JPIMedia is currently searching for a replacement for Melinda, but has not yet revealed who is running the paper on an interim basis.

In her editorial, Melina added: “Consider where your community would be without your local newspaper, please continue to support it – not only the Stornoway Gazette – but also the many other local newspapers the length of the Islands – and they will continue to highlight the issues that matter to you.”