Arts / New Shetlander magazine in ‘grim’ financial situation

THE FINANCIAL situation facing the New Shetlander magazine has been described as “grim” as discussions continue over its future.

The cost of printing and administering the publication, which is the oldest literary and community magazine in Scotland, is met by Voluntary Action Shetland’s reserves.

However, this is said to be unsustainable going forward.

The magazine, which was first published in 1947, features opinion, prose and poetry about Shetland and it has also proved to be a valuable outlet for material written in the local dialect.

For a spell in the 1960s and 1970s it was possible for the magazine to sell thousands of copies, but in more recent years it has faced competition from other publications and the internet.

The 292nd edition of the New Shetlander has just been published, and the next issue will come out in November.

During the next five months the publisher and editor will be discussing, internally and publicly, the magazine’s future.


Despite the fact that since 1956 it has been edited by editors and a committee who have received no remuneration, Voluntary Action Shetland said it is finding it increasingly difficult to get the magazine published.

Joint editors Laureen Johnson and Brian Smith said: “The New Shetlander has a long and honourable history of reflecting and leading discussion about life in Shetland.

“The magazine has published the very best of literary material from the islands for more than seventy years.

“It would be tragic if a publication with such a long history were to founder now.

“Shetland needs the New Shetlander, and the publisher and committee will do its best to make sure it continues. We shall involve the Shetland community in discussions about its future.”

The New Shetlander has published the work of notable local poets T.A. Robertson, Stella Sutherland and W.J. Tait among others, while it was also the first publication to feature work by Orcadian writer George Mackay Brown.

Shetland Life magazine, meanwhile, came to an end in early January after nearly 40 years in print.

Publisher Shetland Times Ltd said the magazine was no longer viable amid a struggle to increase sales and decreasing revenue from advertising.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.