Exciting new era dawns for your E&L

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THE Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser has a new owner and an exciting future ahead after CN Group, the Carlisle-based media organisation, transferred ownership to the Muckle Toon Media Community Interest Company yesterday.

Miller Hogg, CN Group chief executive, and David Stevenson, chairman of Muckle Toon Media, seal the deal on the sale of the E&L Advertiser
Miller Hogg, CN Group chief executive, and David Stevenson, chairman of Muckle Toon Media, seal the deal on the sale of the E&L Advertiser

The company said the paper had been running at a loss for some time but rather than close the title, it sought the opportunity to hand the title to the community it served.

The community has responded very enthusiastically to this approach and a new not-for-profit organisation was formed and championed by entrepreneur David Stevenson and a small dedicated team alongside him.

The new company has gained support from the EU-funded LEADER programme. Muckle Toon Media will now own the title and run it as a community owned organisation. CN Media will continue to provide printing and publishing assistance.

Miller Hogg, chief executive of CN Group, said: “I'm delighted to have achieved this outcome for the E&L, its staff and the communities it serves.

"I'm pleased that Langholm and the surrounding villages of Eskdale and Liddesdale will continue to have a championing newspaper to support its efforts and to report on its activities and news.”

David Stevenson, chairman of Muckle Toon Media's board of trustees, said: “Local newspapers are the lifeblood of rural communities and, with the problems which Langholm has experienced in recent years, it is important that the E&L continues to champion its regeneration and support its residents and businesses.

"After 168 years, it would have been a shame to have let the title go quietly. Like a lot of people, when I heard it was being closed, I thought it was a shame but probably inevitable because of the economic decline of the area and the population and the growth of other media.

"About a week or two before it was due to close I heard the level of concern and offers of help from the community and decided to have a look.

"It's a much-loved paper and Langholm is going through a tough time. It won't be easy to get it back to viability but we have the best part of two years to find the format.

"The paper belongs to the community and will be managed by the community for the community. It's important there is a two-way dialogue between the community and the staff in terms of assisting us with what is happening, sending reports, taking photos and anything they think will be of interest to readers.

"The key to its future is growing the amount of advertising. A lot of advertising originating in Carlisle yields nothing and we need to find other sources of content and engage with groups and businesses in our area. It's up to the paper to deliver what the area and people want. You earn support; you can't impose it.

"I will be very surprised if what we're producing in 18 months is the same publication which we produce today in terms of size and content. It will have developed beyond where we are now."

CN Group announced the proposed closure last November. In December David sought to find out about the best approach to creating a community company and raising grant funding. Anonymous donors and considerable local support inspired formation of the company and proposal for a community owned paper.

Mairi Telford Jammeh, project manager, said: "We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in raising the funding to make this project happen. We’re particularly grateful to the people who wrote letters of support to send with our funding application to LEADER Dumfries and Galloway.

"We understand from LEADER that this made a huge difference to its success. We hope people will continue to support us in the coming months and will be willing to support and contribute to the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser to make it interesting for everyone who reads it in the future."

Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 3:15PM
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