Scottish new media project NewsShaft to close

News and politics podcast to terminate due to financial difficulties

SCOTTISH new media platform NewsShaft is set to close in mid October due to financial shortcomings, it has been announced.

The news and politics podcast platform has been struggling to raise requisite funding since it was established in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum.

A statement posted on the NewsShaft website said: "Due to ongoing financial difficulties, the team behind NewsShaft have announced that the new media outlet will be forced to close by mid October.

"Despite boasting a steadily increased audience share since launching in February of this year, a lack of financial support has plagued NewsShaft since its inception.

"It is therefore with a heavy heart that the NewsShaft team have reached this decision, but as a result of the preceding year, our own personal finances have reached such dire straits that they must take priority."

NewsShaft had only recently launched five weekday shows to provide comprehensive arts, news and politics coverage with a Scottish focus. Following the referendum, the project raised tens of thousands of pounds through crowdfunding to pursue plans for the creation of a new media broadcast alternative. The project was part of a wider explosion in new online media sources amid rising political interest in Scotland.

Its folding will be seen as a blow to new media in an increasingly challenging financial environment.

Carolyn Scott, one of three founders and presenters of NewsShaft, with Jack Foster and James Devoy, told CommonSpace that NewsShaft was launched with the hope of creating a stronger Scottish media: "Scotland doesn't have a strong media, it has media that is owned largely out with Scotland. We hoped to provide a local, accessible and quality news service with a real focus on Scotland.

"We never sought to compete with the mainstream media, we wanted something that was accessible, but also something high quality, reporting that people could trust."

However, lack of immediate reach meant raising finances was always a problem, she said: "There's no reluctance of people to donate money. The problem is reach, getting your product in front of people."

Scott said that Scottish Government support for media may be necessary in the future: "Of course, Scotland already has a publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC. But I would love to see a government-funded local media, all types of media not just politics. Government-funded media training would also be very useful."

The news comes after a tumultuous few weeks for Scottish media a tranche of cut-backs and redundancies have afflicted several newspapers including the Sunday Herald and the Scotsman.

NewsShaft will continue to broadcast its daily shows for two weeks before its final closure.

Picture courtesy of NewsShaft