… but just to these emails.
After nine years of posting my weekly columns online, I have posted my last. As many of you will know, they also appear every week in the papers and online platforms owned by the brilliant Highland News and Media, who have paid me to write them for over 20 years.
As you’ll also know, the newspaper and media industry has changed enormously in the past two decades, and at a massively rapid pace in the past three or four years. Most of us now consume our news digitally rather than nipping out in the morning to buy a paper, and Highland News and Media have made the brave, bold and (I believe) the right decision to follow that route. They will continue to print newspapers – for now – but the push has to be towards online.
When I started publishing my columns on this website, they didn’t appear online anywhere else. Now they do – in fact, they’re now behind the Highland News and Media paywall. Which means it’s unfair of me to continue to share them here. I am proud of my long association with The Inverness Courier and its sister papers, their hard-working, innovative staff, and their ability to adapt and reflect the times in which we live. So it seems wrong to be making my work available for free, when they pay me to write it.
Hello to free gin!
But my columns are still very much available… all you need is a subscription to Highland News and Media, and the entirety of the news organisation’s output, including all editions of every one of the newspapers, magazines and the supplements it publishes across the north of Scotland every week, is available to you, 24/7, on your phone, tablet or laptop.
Click here and for less than £50 for the Digital+ subscription, get a whole year’s worth of news, entertainment, sports coverage, columnists…. even the crosswords(!)… and, if you do it now, there’s a FREE full-sized bottle of local (delicious) Goodwill Gin in it for you!
Local journalism is important
Local journalism is important. It holds our local elected representatives to account, calls out injustice, gives a voice to what is going on in our schools, hospitals and communities, protecting local interests and making sure our more sparsely populated region of Scotland is not drowned out by the noise in the central belt.
But it’s not all bad news that we cover. We champion the brilliant, hard-working businesses, partnerships and entrepreneurs who drive economic success in our region, report on the charities and campaigners who shine light where there might otherwise be darkness and – with our Highland Heroes and Moray and Banffshire Heroes Events, celebrate the unsung teachers, healthcare workers, volunteers and brave children in our communities, without whose hard work, dedication and selflessness, our communities wouldn’t be the vibrant, caring places in which we love to live.
I am proud and delighted to be hosting both Heroes Awards ceremonies again this year; they are without a doubt the highlight of my hosting calendar.
Thank you for reading my columns here – some of you have been with me for the whole nine years; others have joined more recently. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my stories, rants and thoughts with you every week, and particularly loved when you’ve got back in touch with your thoughts too – even when you’ve entirely disagreed with me. If we can’t feel able to have difficult conversations, we’re in real trouble, and I hope came across when I wrote recently about trans rights.
I hope we’ll keep in touch (my email address still works – firstname.lastname@example.org) , and that you’ll still feel free to get in touch about what I write. I will still be writing columns every week – the only thing that’s changing is that I won’t be posting them here and sending out.
It’s been a privilege to have been associated with this dynamic, forward-thinking media organisation for over 20 years, and I am excited to be with them in this new direction of travel. I do hope you’ll join us, if you haven’t already.
All best wishes,