Orkneys all set for battle of weeklies

The remote Scottish islands of Orkney are to be the venue for a newspaper showdown as a new weekly takes on the 150-year-old Orcadian.

Orkney Today is being backed by owner of Orkney Photographic, Ken Amer, and local fuel business S and JD Robertson. So far the new paper has a staff of seven, headed by editor John Ross Scott.

Scott told Press Gazette: “I’ve been in journalism for 25 years and it’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve been through. Creating something from scratch you can get the parameters right and build the foundations.

“The people of Orkney have had no other newspaper apart from The Orcadian since 1961, but there are two newspapers in Shetland and two papers in the Western Isles. I want to be involved in a paper that’s positive and promoting Orkney and its advantages.”

The new title will have an initial print run of 10,000 and go out for the first time on Friday, 3 October, the day after The Orcadian. Both have a cover price of 57p.

Scott added: “I think we can provide a better-quality paper and one that’s closer to the people of Orkney. We will be a very different newspaper.”

Orkney Today chief reporter Robert Leslie is a former news editor of The Orcadian and reporter Brian Flett also previously worked for the established title.

The Orcadian is a family-owned weekly and has near saturation coverage of the islands, with sales of 11,000 to the 20,000 population. Although tabloid in format, in style it resembles a traditional newspaper of record.

News editor Stuart Laundry, who has just recruited chief reporter Margaret Carr and senior reporter Fiona Nichol, said: “It’s an interesting time. Until we’ve seen Orkney Today we can’t really comment on anything to do with that organisation.

We shall continue to give our readers the same comprehensive coverage of Orkney and all the activities that go on here as they have come to expect over the last century and a half.”


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