Here at the Centre for Community Journalism, we are committed to hyperlocal journalism.
Shetland News hits important milestone
By Matt Abbott | 10th Sep 2019
ICNN member Shetland News reported that August 2019 was its busiest and most successful month ever.
The news site that serves the small island community of Shetland in the Northern Isles of Scotland just hit 1,000,000 page views per month.
It is also celebrating after recording steady growth in the number of people supporting the news site financially with monthly contributions.
The record figures come on the back of an intensely fought by-election campaign and the redevelopment of the Shetland News website which launched in the autumn last year.
According to editor Hans J Marter, the redevelopment has been vital in attracting more readers than ever before, with mobile optimisation a key feature.
He said: “One million page views in a single month for a news organisation that serves a relatively small island population, while having only three reporters, is a tremendous achievement.
“It means that on average a Shetland News page is loaded every three seconds, 24 hours a day. Our busiest hour was in the middle of the night when Beatrice Wishart was elected Shetland’s new MSP.
“The growth in readership numbers also confirms that our strategy of providing a full and unrestrictive news service is paying off.
“I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank our reporters Chris Cope and Peter Johnson for doing a sterling job.”
“Online paywalls and appeals for donations are now, of course, a standard feature on most news websites as publishers large and small struggle to survive in an increasingly fast-changing news environment.
“As such Shetland News renews its call for more people to sign up as a supporter via this link: https://supporters.shetnews.co.uk.
“Small monthly contributions do not cost the world; in fact most people will hardly notice £3 or £5 coming off their bank account once a month. For us, however, it makes a big difference. For once the overused slogan ‘every little helps’ rings true.
“But why pay for something that is freely available? It is a good question.
“We certainly don’t want to limit access to Shetland News – we want the website to be open, free and accountable. But the harsh reality is that even Shetland News needs to grow its income, pay its staff a decent wage, invest in the technical side of things and, yes, also pay the taxman.
“So, contributing financially makes a lot of sense. It’s a vital investment in local journalism and doesn’t cost the world.”
In October 2018, we reported that Shetland News attracted around 80,000 unique users per month.
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