WELCOME to the new Shetland News website which we have launched today (Monday).
After two years of working behind the scenes, we now feel confident to lift the veil and present a completely revamped www.shetnews.co.uk.
The new site, which has entirely been paid for by many of our readers, has been developed by our York based webmaster Clement Duncan, who grew up in Burra.
With two thirds of our readers enjoying Shetland News on their mobile or tablet it was high time to move on from the previous design, which has served us well for more than seven years.
The new site has a modern look and incorporates all the functionality one has come to expect from a contemporary news website, including displaying perfectly on all mobile devices.
None of this would have been possible without the generous help from more than 300 of our readers who are either supporting us with small monthly ‘subscriptions’ or one-off donations.
When embarking on the project of building a new website it became quickly clear that there was no public funding available to help with such a venture.
Editor Hans J Marter said: “We are committed to keeping Shetland News a free resource, however the reality is that we can’t develop the news service any further without readers being willing to pay for their daily news.
“So the supporters’ scheme that we launched in August 2016 is a compromise between keeping the site free to access and giving those who feel passionate enough about our work a chance to contribute financially.
“I would like to express my gratitude to everybody who has helped us achieving this major milestone. Without your help this would not have been possible.”
Duncan added: “The site has been developed from the ground up to optimise the reader’s experience.
“This has been achieved by increasing the accessibility of archived and related stories, ensuring the organisation of new stories is visually engaging, introducing a new interactive navigation that is user-friendly and an enhanced search feature that delivers accurate results, all while ensuring the content is delivered to the reader as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“All these new features should allow you to easily find stories that interest you and allow you to deep dive into topics that matter to you the most.”
The website is tailor-made for the local market with Shetland based companies as well as the public sector advertising their goods and services to an audience relevant to their needs.
“There are no annoying video adverts popping up in the middle of a news story and no links to spurious website offering PPI checks and worse,” Marter said.
Shetland News currently employs two journalists, Chris Cope, who is also a part-time local democracy reporter – a national scheme paid for by the BBC which aims to increase coverage of councils and other public bodies – and Peter Johnson, who currently works three days a week.
Marter added: “We know it can take time to adjust to the changes, and we’re keen to hear your thoughts about the new site.
“So if you love or hate some of the new features or have features you like to suggest, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your feedback to email@example.com
“And in order to keep the momentum going, we would be grateful if more people keen to see local journalism thriving would be willing to make a small contribution and sign up at https://supporters.shetnews.co.uk.”