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Community / Merry Christmas from all at Shetland News

Scalloway Christmas tree. Photo: Shetland News

AS CHRISTMAS is finally upon us and with it the chance of some quality time off – even with those restrictions, or protection measures, as some might call it – we all realise how tired and worn out we are after 21 months of Covid.

And I am only talking about our small team here that brings you the daily news. However, like so many others, we didn’t know what hit us when reports of the pandemic became part of our daily job of reporting from the journalism frontline, and it is fair to say that we have never been so busy in our lives.

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So, we will take some time off to recharge those batteries. If all goes well, we will be back on 5 January 2022 with the full news service. If the pandemic requires us to come out of hibernation, we of course will do so.

Before we go it is time to say a big public thank you both to our team here, to our reporter Chris and Clement and Susan who remain busy in the background, to all the regular freelancers Neil, Jane, Alex and Deborah, and to all those in the community who tip us off, contribute photos and videos, and to those who write letters or give us a ring.

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We continue to rely on folk from Unst to Fair Isle, and encourage people to get in touch if they feel they have news.

But we are most indebted to all our readers who keep coming back for more, while a growing number supports us through small donations which is proving invaluable in both maintaining and growing our service.

It has been another record-breaking year for Shetland News with the website enjoying well above 14 million page views, an increase of almost 10 per cent on the previous year.

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We would like to thank all our advertisers too, both new and old, for their support during the year.

We now offer a variety of newsletters to our readers, varying from daily and weekly news round-ups to updates on new jobs and property listings. Please consider subscribing here, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Last month we entered into a partnership with local restorative justice charity Space2face which aims to bring together offender and victim to heal the damage done and reduce the risk of re-offending. We feel this a very worthwhile initiative and have started signposting the charity on every court story that we publish.

For 2022 we hope to be able to expand the service to include other charities in the field.

Meanwhile, instead of sending out Christmas cards, Shetland News has donated £250 to Shetland Foodbank – which as highlighted in our recent article is a worthy cause at this time of the year.

Finally, some data is now coming from a survey commissioned by the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF), a London-based charity Shetland News has been working with closely since the start of the pandemic.

According to their research 58 per cent of people surveys said they would trust a news organisation covering local news based in the area, while just 31 per cent said they would trust a news organisation based outside their area.

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No surprise, I hear you say, yet many local areas in Scotland and across the UK are these days served by news providers which have no local presence and little local knowledge.

From that perspective Shetland and its relatively modest population is lucky to be very well served with plenty of locally-based news organisations, covering online, print and radio. At times such as these it is worth reflecting on that for a moment.

We will be back in the new year with our regular news service, and until then we would like to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a better 2022.

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