Bringing News to an Island Community
Living in a remote part of the UK can have its advantages, not least the peace and quiet of a rural environment but, with 200 miles to the nearest city, living in the Shetland Islands means keeping in touch with international, national and even local news can be a challenge.
When publisher, Hans Marter, who arrived from Germany 24 years ago, relaunched the Shetland News in 2003, he soon realised the central role the news site at www.shetnews.co.uk could play in linking the islands to the rest of the world, one that the population of 23,000 islanders have depended on ever since.
With 90% of income coming from local advertising, Hans and his team appreciate the value of developing relationships with the small and medium-sized companies looking to reach the island audience whilst recognising that there are times when they have to report a difficult local story or call a business to account.
"Local reporting requires particular accuracy when it comes to checking sources and researching facts”, says Hans.
"We have nowhere to hide and, as you'd expect, we are challenged if we get it wrong.
“We all feel passionately about what we do and we put enormous effort into getting things right. Not every story is a warm and positive human interest piece, it is vital for democracy that the media is free to report what it sees without fear.
“That's why joining IMPRESS was an important next step for us. It is also refreshing to find an organisation which is interested in a news organisation like us."
Hans recognises that to stay ahead Shetland News must continually consider new revenue streams and looking to the future he has recently launched a supporter scheme which could see Shetlanders taking a real stake in the future of their vital news source.