AN EXCITING new chapter for your local paper is revealed in today’s edition as the E&L Advertiser looks to secure its future in a post-COVID world.
The restructuring is designed to ensure the paper has a long-term future serving its communities both in print and online and with the continued support of its readers and voluntary contributors.
Since the community buyout of the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser from the Cumbria News Group in 2017, it has been a continual challenge to make the publication sustainable and, despite the support and efforts of our editor, Rachel and her colleagues, our volunteers and our board, we are still running at a loss, a position aggravated by COVID-19 and its subsequent effect on our advertising revenue.
We have always been dependent on external funding and advertising revenue to make up the shortfall between the costs of publishing the paper and the revenue from selling the paper.
This loss has increased significantly with the impact of COVID-19 on our advertising revenue and, once again, we are faced with reducing our costs and finding better ways of running the E&L in the digital age.
Going forward, the Board has decided that it wishes to create the new position of Community Editor who will be responsible for all aspects of the business but particularly editorial content, social media, community engagement and volunteer recruitment as well as advertising sales and other commercial activities.
All staff will then report to the Community Editor who will report to the Board via the chair.
As a result, the current role of editor, as we know it, will become redundant when this new appointment has been made.
Chairman David Stevenson said “Rachel has been with us as editor since 2000 and has seen many changes both locally and within the newspaper industry as a whole.
“After 21 years as editor, she has decided that this is an appropriate time to move on and seek new challenges.
“Taking over the E&L from the Cumbria News Group four years ago and becoming a self-contained business in Langholm could not have been done without Rachel’s commitment and experience. Her role was pivotal in ensuring the future of the E&L.
“While the financial pressures remain, the paper itself has improved immensely in this time and I would like to thank Rachel, Alan, Sharon and our band of voluntary contributors for ensuring the paper is well designed and remains relevant to Langholm and the surrounding area.”
Rachel, who will be leaving in early August, said: “It really has been a privilege to work in Eskdale and Liddesdale and be a part of this great little paper’s history.
“I have worked with so many wonderful, innovative and dedicated people in so many different communities in these valleys.
“It has been a particularly difficult 12 months for everyone but the way people here have gone about dealing with the challenges has been exceptional.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in so many different ways not only over the past year but also for so many years before that.
“It has been a pleasure to work for Muckle Toon Media, David and the board and to have worked with such wonderfully talented colleagues who bring so much to the paper.
“I hope you will continue to support the E&L in the future and that all of you in every community are successful.
“If your efforts and achievements so far are anything to go by, you are going to make a big impact over the next few years and bring the prosperity you deserve.”
David will also be retiring in August and will be succeeded as chairman by John Hammond who said: “I would like to thank David and Rachel for their commitment to preserving our newspaper for the community.
“As I take over from David as Chairman, I know there will be many challenges to overcome but feel confident our new management team, engaging with the community, will ensure a healthy future for one of the oldest newspapers in Scotland.”