Am Paipear - 40 years and still going strong

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Communities with no dedicated local news service should consider launching their own newspaper, says the editor of Am Pàipear.

The local Benbecula title is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Iain Stephen Morrison, Editor, says the paper is a great example for communities with an unmet appetite for local news.

“We publish the newspaper once-a-month, but run an online news service in between editions,” he explained.

“Just two members of staff produce the paper, with printing the only element of production taking place off-island. We have a committee of volunteers who oversee the running of the business, but all profits are reinvested in the product, so our readers get the best possible value for money.

“It is a very community-focussed enterprise, well-established in the Outer Hebrides, but perhaps with potential in other areas where there is a gap in coverage.”

Mr Morrison says that before making any bold moves, the feasibility of establishing a newspaper in any area should be thoroughly investigated and costed. He says not setting out to cover too wide an area could be key - Am Pàipear operates in a patch with just 4500 people resident - as is ensuring that enough local businesses are onboard.”

A full programme of events to celebrate 40 years of Am Pàipear was launched last Thursday when Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan opened a special exhibition featuring the paper’s entire archive.

Also a special one hour documentary produced by MacTV for BBC ALBA looks back at its 40 year history.

‘Trusadh: Am Pàipear’ will be broadcast on BBC ALBA at 9pm on August 8th. However the community can get a first look on July 19th at a special screening in Balivanich Hall.