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New national news title launched by 18 local publishers

Rhiannon DaviesEighteen independent news publishers have joined forces to launch a new national title.

The local and hyperlocal outlets have teamed up to found the Scottish Beacon with the aim of bringing community stories from across Scotland to a wider audience.

The website will spotlight articles on topics including community empowerment, social equality, local democracy and the environment.

The Beacon, launched with funding from the Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge Fund, says it will generate revenue through a mix of different income streams including through membership fees, partnerships, advertising and grant funding.

The site has been developed by Greater Govanhill, an award-winning title based in Glasgow.

Other launch partners include The Bellman, Broughton Spurtle, C&B News, Clydesider, Crail Matters, Edinburgh Reporter, Forres Local, The Ileach, Glenkens Gazette, The Hawick Paper, Inverclyde Now, Lochside Press, Midlothian View, Migrant Women Press, The Orkney News and Shetland News.

Greater Govanhill and Scottish Beacon founder Rhiannon Davies, pictured, said: “I truly believe that the future of journalism is collaborative. I developed the idea for this project after being inspired by similar established collaboratives in the US. But there are some brilliant community-based publications in Scotland – I’m really excited to see what we can do together.

“There’s been so many brutal cuts made by the corporate publishers to local news which mean that too often journalists working in distant newsrooms are reporting on communities they are not familiar with.

“It’s wild that just three publishers own the vast majority of local news publications, while big tech has hoovered up much of the traditional revenues streams. But I keep meeting these dedicated journalists – paid and voluntary – who provide a vital local service. They’re not doing it for the money, but because they care about their communities and because these stories matter.

“By collaborating on stories, and digging into national topics at a local level, we hope to amplify stories that too often go unheard, holding power to account and strengthening community voices.”

Juliana da Penha, Scottish Beacon project coordinator and founder of Migrant Women Press, added: “Running an independent publication dedicated to marginalised communities is fascinating but, at the same time, extremely demanding – mainly because of the power structures that dominate the journalism industry and the lack of support dedicated for independent publications.

“I believe at the Scottish Beacon we are building an alternative, collaborative and sustainable path for independent journalism.”