View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

Scottish local news coverage mapped: All districts have at least one outlet

North Ayrshire is the best-covered local authority district, with nine local media outlets.

By Clara Aberneithie

Scotland appears to be better covered than Wales when it comes to local news coverage, with no local authority areas devoid of coverage.

The number of local media outlets covering Scotland’s 32 local authority districts ranges from one in Comhairle Nan Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) to nine in North Ayrshire.

The investigation looked into how thoroughly local authorities are covered by media outlets, not whether residents in those authorities are consuming local media.

Press Gazette research into Welsh local news coverage found two local authority areas that appeared to be news deserts: Merthyr Tydfil and Neath Port Talbot.

Local news publishers have cut around two-thirds of their journalism jobs in the UK over the last 20 years. But in terms of the number of local news titles, Scotland appears to be faring relatively well.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

John McLellan, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, told Press Gazette: "The phrase 'news desert' is not applicable in Scotland because the country is fully covered.

Content from our partners
New technology from EX.CO helps publishers double on-site video revenue
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms

"Some areas are more intensely covered than others but every part of the country is covered by a recognisable and trusted publication."

He added: "We have a very healthy network of local papers in Scotland - they still maintain their network of community correspondence."

McLellan explained that Scottish papers have a multiscalar focus, looking at hyperlocal to national news.

He said: "They're not the same scale as when I ran them but they're still very vibrant."

Methodology

Press Gazette contacted all Scottish local authorities, requesting a list of the news outlets that covered the area’s news at least three times per week. Of the 32 local authorities, 12 responded.

This list was extended using data from Public Interest News Foundation (PINF), Joint industry Currency for Regional Media Research (JICREG) and Google News searches for the local authority.

The focus was on collecting information on media outlets that cover certain local authorities, not where those media outlets are based or where people consume local media.

We also visited each online news outlet’s website to ensure that those who published less than three stories per week about a certain area were ignored.

The below table shows the ratio of a local authority population to the number of news outlets. The population data was sourced from the National Records for Scotland.

Disclaimer: Mapping local news provision in the UK is hard because most titles no longer publish audited ABC print circulation figures, and where newspapers survive they are often hollowed out. That is why we have based our research on trying to track published relevant online outfits, requiring us to make qualitative judgment calls.

If you know of a news outlet that should be added to our list (or you think some should not be on on there) please email pged@pressgazette.co.uk.

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network