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Dateline: The Library - as Johnston paper closes its local office

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

April 23, 2013 | 4 min read

A Scottish local paper is attracting UK-wide comment after it announced its reporter was to work from the local library because its office in the town is about to close.

Milngavie Herald: Visionary move?

An article in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald announced that "our community reporter Laura Sturrock will be based three days a week at Milngavie library."

The Johnston Press title, which sells 5,200 copies a week, is moving its office to one shared with other papers in Kirkintilloch, eight miles away .

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian commented,"I thought this sounded like a good wheeze until I called the library.

"Well," said one of the librarians, it's not quite what it seems. You'll need to speak to East Dunbartonshire leisure and culture trust."

So Greenslade did, and was told that the article overstated the situation. "We are in touch with the editor about this," said a spokeswoman.

"All we were asked was if it would be ok for a reporter to use our facilities, and we said they could do so, just like any other member of the public.

"There's no question of it being an office. The person will have to obey the rules about mobile phones, for instance, which have to be used outside the premises."

In spite of the article, , Herald editor Jim Holland said his reporter would not, after all, be based at the library.

She "will be in and out", merely using the library to "type up stories", he said.

The original article in the paper represented the move as progress.

"While our office re-location to Kirkintilloch is the end of an era, modern technology means it’s also the start of something bold and new for our newspaper and website.

"From Thursday, April 25, our editorial team will be based at 11 Dalrymple Court, Kirkintilloch, alongside our sister newspapers – The Kirkintilloch Herald, Bishopbriggs Herald and Springburn Herald."

The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald team "will still be out and about in our patch and our community reporter Laura Sturrock will be based three days a week at Milngavie Library," said the article.

"Laura and her colleagues chief reporter/deputy editor Graham Martin and reporter Julian Hearne will bring you all the latest news and sport from around the area.

"While modern technology is changing the way we produce newspapers, we are turning the clock back when it comes to getting the stories you want to read."

The article insisted, "This new phase for the Herald will see our reporters out in the community more than ever to meet groups and residents."

And of course, mustn't forget the advertisers: " Ad rep Maxine Conlon is a well-known and familiar face to our advertisers and will continue to make her regular visits and calls to businesses throughout or circulation area and beyond."

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