All of us in Edinburgh, Leeds and Cardiff have become very used to the sight of the tweets, the retweets, the informative articles and guest posts, as well as the familiar sight of the journalists who have peopled the Guardian Local blogs over the past year.
We were curious as to what exactly Michael MacLeod was doing, sitting at the very front of the public gallery in the City Chambers, and we laughed uproariously at the resultant video of a councillor doing a sudoku during a full council meeting.
But in Edinburgh in particular, the Guardian blog has become a very popular read. So popular that it took our breath away when the Guardian Editor with overall control for these pilot projects, Meg Pickard, announced their demise in a blog post at the end of April. For all the blue sky thinking had now disappeared, and a dose of reality had set in. Apparently all this localness is to be canned for the lack of income, which, to us at least, did not seem to have been very keenly sought out. The North Edinburgh News which was a victim of council budget cuts, had managed to earn around £25,000 in annual advertising revenue, until it closed at the end of March 2011.
So now, from today, the Guardian Edinburgh blog will no longer be updated on a daily basis with important local news about local issues involving local people. And that will be a loss to all of us.
Michael MacLeod wrote on Tuesday about what happens next. But of course truthfully we know what happens next. We will no longer have the luxury of a UK broadsheet presence in our capital, with real clout to get down to the nitty gritty of the local news. (With apologies to The Guardian’s Severin Carrell who of course carries out sterling work as The Guardian Scotland correspondent, but has more than just Auld Reekie to deal with, which he does admirably, but in a different way from the local blogs.)
It now appears to all involved, that this was perhaps just a whim or a fancy to tease us, to make us feel special for a while, rather like the first-born child in a family who enjoys solitary adulation for a while. But now we are told that there are to be no siblings, and we are to fend for ourselves in future.
We feel rather bereft. It is not simply that we shall miss the number of referrals The Reporter regularly received from The Guardian Edinburgh, who mentioned our articles in the daily round-up, although we will. We shall also miss the breadth of coverage that Michael managed to bring to the city through his unflagging work. The draw of the big name in lights attracted many guest posts on a variety of subjects too, from Blindcraft to Biomass and beyond.
So what to do?
Well, for a start, all you bloggers out there who have enjoyed a moment of fame having something published in The Guardian could instead send any articles to us.
If you are campaigning about something you feel strongly about, then let us know.
If you are involved in an organisation which needs to have publicity, but perhaps cannot pay for advertising, then contact us.
If you are an Edinburgh person, company or business then subscribe to our daily email update, please comment on our stories and tell us what we have got right or what we have missed out.
We have access to all forms of media. We can film you, record an interview, take photographs of you. We do not have the resources to actively seek out every last story in Edinburgh, but if you take some of the initiative then we will be able to tell as many stories as we possibly can.
And you could of course post an advert on our site to help us keep going in the ever so important financial sense. We have text only ads, a banner ad position at the top of the page which is sold weekly, adverts in our right hand margin, and for those of you with some spring-cleaning behind you – we have classified ads which desperately need some content.
We ourselves have been concentrating on bringing you the stories about Edinburgh. But we need your help if we are to continue doing any of that. So please get in touch.
Email is fine by us firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally we wish Michael, Hannah, John and Sarah the very best. We are sure we have not heard the last of them!