Community news in Moray to publish under tsiMORAY leadership

MORAY’S COMMUNITY NEWS resource is to return after an absence of two months under the management of local charity tsiMORAY.

Founder Stuart Crowther gave up the site at the end of February after almost four years, establishing it as a highly successful free community news service covering all aspects of life in Moray.

Now tsiMORAY has agreed to re-launch the resource, a decision that will be welcomed by thousands of regular readers who had come to depend on their daily diet of reliable local news.

Announcing the decision Stuart said: “As previously posted on our social media group, I have been in discussions with a community-based group regarding the potential for them to take on the running of insideMORAY.

“I am pleased to report that the group’s committee has agreed in principle to take on insideMORAY, – and that the group’s intentions are as set out below. It would be helpful to hear your thoughts about their proposal.

“I wish tsiMORAY well for the future and take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me in growing what has become a highly respected and copied community source throughout the UK.”

Fabio Villani

In a statement Fabio Villani, the Chief Officer of tsiMORAY, said: “Our purpose in taking on the running of insideMORAY is to help people participate in the public life of Moray.

“This is very much at the heart of our charitable aims, and we recognise that access to readily available, reliable local information is an essential pre-requisite for people to participate effectively.

“Our concerns in doing so fall under three main headings:

• legal
• political / reputational
• financial

“We don’t have Stuart’s journalistic expertise, so could run the legal risk of being sued for inappropriate or libellous reporting. To avoid this we will want to recruit a skilled Editor as well as insure against this risk.

“Like most charities, we raise funds for specific uses and can’t divert those funds to other uses, so we will need to raise money specifically for this.

“The main political/reputational risk is that the stories we publish generate animosity towards us, which would have a negative impact on our existing activities. To avoid this, we will want to set and follow an editorial policy that mirrors our values, including integrity, empathy, compassion and respect.

“We will not shy away from “political” content, but we will be “non-partisan”, and will expect debate to be carried out in a respectful way; we will edit or indeed block both press releases and comments accordingly.

“The key financial risk is that we cannot secure sufficient funds to run the service, or to continue it once we started it. If that happened, we would have to let InsideMORAY fold, which could in turn damage our reputation.

“Having considered all of the above, our intention is to try to secure the funds to run insideMORAY along the lines set out above. We’d rather try and fail than let insideMORAY fold for want of trying.

“We recognise that raising enough money to fund the project for at least an initial period of 12 months will take some time. We intend to start by running a reduced, volunteer-led service while we seek to secure the resources needed to return insideMORAY to the levels of activity it achieved under Stuart’s capable leadership.

“We would love to hear what you think about our proposal, so we have asked Stuart to re-enable comments on the insideMORAY Facebook Group; please be honest and respectful … practice makes perfect!

“Also, please let us know if you would like to help us, either by volunteering your services or by helping us to secure funding. Further updates to follow soon.”

Discussion has been reopened on the insideMoray Facebook Group  – where tsiMORAY would welcome views from all Moray communities.