Formed in 1972, the West Highland Free Paper serves the UK’s most isolated communities across an area of 250,000 square miles.
In 2008, with the support of the Baxi Partnership and a little but more from Co-operative and Community Finance, the paper was bought out by the staff, with the aim of keeping its high quality journalism in good shape.
At present West Highland Press make a small profit of around 2% of turnover. Their role is not to provide a great profit – though they wouldn’t be averse – but to create a working environment built on security, good treatment, respect and control over working conditions.
Without this co-operative form of ownership, the paper would have been sold off, amalgamated or closed.
Their story and that of a range of other inspiring media co-operatives, including household names such as New Internationalist, is told in a wonderful new report we have published called Good News, written by Dave Boyle.
Roy Greenslade, covering the report for the Guardian calls the report “a plan to transform the ownership of local and regional newspapers” in the face of threats to their survival.