THE E&L Advertiser’s Hold the Front Page! project has been shortlisted for a Dumfries & Galloway LEADER rural award.
The project entered the rural resilience category and was shortlisted along with two other schemes.
Muckle Toon Media, the community interest company which owns the newspaper, secured funding from LEADER in early 2017, together with private donations, after it was put up for sale by CN Group in Carlisle.
The E&L office was visited last week by judge Artur Steiner and Nicola Hill, LEADER programme manager in Dumfries and Galloway.
Staff and board members outlined the project’s ambitions and achievements and answered questions. They were supported by two members of the community, Alison Hutton and John Galloway.
The newspaper is up against The Whithorn Trust Iron Age Roundhouse and Connecting in Communities, New Galloway.
Mairi Telford Jammeh, project manager, said: “We’re a community interest company so it’s essential that we continually engage with our communities and do things to promote and support them.
“The nature of our business requires regular and continuous community engagement and our communities are very varied.
“We’ve had school pupils for
work experience, we’ve held a young writers’ competition and are setting up a young reporters’ club at Langholm Academy.
“Our advertising section gives businesses an opportunity to profile their products, support our newspaper and support events such as agricultural shows.”
Rachel Norris, editor, added: “When the paper was put up for sale in December 2016, no publisher could be expected to invest in such a weak publication so its main hope was a future as a community paper.
“This was successful and two years and four months after its sale to MTM, the paper is doing well. The transformation began straight away with the expansion of the editorial pages.
“We could not produce the paper we do today without the many contributions we receive from individuals and groups.
“It has been a real confidence boost that we’re succeeding. The sale to the community has breathed new life into the E&L and brought a fresh perspective to covering the area.
“It gives hope to other struggling local papers that there is life away from being tied to a larger enterprise.”
There are five categories in total and in the rural entrepreneurship category The Walled Garden at Arkleton is in contention against Senwick Alpacas in Borgue and Crafty Galloway in Newton Stewart.
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