21st November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Can we have our paper back (Rosa Steppanova)

, by , in Readers' Views

Once upon a time these islands had a wonderful weekly paper called The Shetland Times, fresh, vibrant, humorous, generous, analytical, critical where necessary, non-censory regarding readers’ views, in tune with the community and well focused on the interests and concerns of the entire Shetland population, rather than selective sections of it – in short – regional journalism at its very best.

I’m referring to the brilliant and supremely intelligent editorship of Vaila Wishart and the paper’s staff under her guidance. Sadly, since her retirement, this once great publication has deteriorated markedly and become The Viking Times. Can we please, please, have our Shetland Times back as soon as possible – perhaps after September at the latest?

Rosa Steppanova
Lea Gardens,


  1. Douglas Young

    I miss this too; what was one of the best regional newspapers in Scotland has become insipid and rarely incisive. To use the front page of last week’s edition to trumpet the tiny minority of 140 companies signing up to opposition to VE was very poor journalism and hardly balanced. Were I a journalist I would be delving into where the original £3 million has gone; what is the financial rush for more when SSE says there is no hurry (is the company in financial difficulty?), have all the SCT meetings been quorate in the past?- which thanks to R Steppanova we know is not the case on at least one occasion- and why does it take the distant OSCR to save the day when a local paper’s investigative powers could have found, and published, all the info we need to know? To be fair, at least the paper has come off the fence on VE, unlike the man who was elected to Holyrood.
    The danger for the newspaper, and Shetlanders, is that circulation will decrease, advertising will decrease, and the paper will be unable to continue – which benefits no-one.

  2. Paul Riddell

    So you don’t agree with the paper’s editorial line on the Viking windfarm and choose to smear the work of myself and my hard-working colleagues to vent your spleens. How very mature. It’s a good job people who really know what they are talking about have more balanced views, which is why The Shetland Times made the shortlist for the Scottish weekly newspaper of the year last year and the year before, as per the links below. Sadly we didn’t win, but we are among the top four or five weekly papers in the country.



  3. ian tinkler

    Sorry Paul, at the risk of appearing undignified, I have to concur with Rosa. Many of my l election blogs and comments to your paper were electively blocked and not printed. They however were mostly published by the Shetland News, with the exception of the clearly libellous and one about a critique about one candidate’s duality of interests and comment that Viking Energy had nothing to do with the council!! (Guess who, smell a rat). I found that frequently a blog, submitted to your paper, would be blocked in the morning but when re submitted a few hours later would be printed. Perhaps whenever who first censored that blog, was at lunch. We joked about it home and work and tried to guess who was out of the Times office and was exercising this censorship. Perhaps you had no idea your staff were behaving like this. As editor you should have.

  4. Paul Riddell

    Hilarious Ian – we’re so censorious that we have published 389 of your comments since February last year, considerably more than anybody else’s on any subject!

  5. ian tinkler

    Matbe abouy time for your retirement Paul. Mave I hit a nerve?

  6. Paul Riddell


  7. S V Jolly

    I just wish the paper would employ a decent proofreader.

  8. Gordon Harmer

    Rosa’s letters are like reading an epitaph to a past age of Stalinism, if you don’t agree with me you must be against me. The Shetland times is totally neutral when it comes to publishing letters and comments this is proven by them publishing Rosa’s uncalled for attack on themselves. Take the often long winded and repetitive debates between Ian Tinkler and myself both sides of these sometimes personal debates were all printed however trivial the content.

    Douglas Young should go and read a few back copies of the Time that have printed unbiased reports from just over three percent of the Shetland population who are vociferous against the wind farm.

    Ian Tinkler I am amazed at what you say after some of your derogatory and disrespectful comments about the last council were published by the Times.

    I have never had a problem getting letters or comments published in the Times. If there has been a hiccup a quick phone call is answered by a courteous explanation of the problem. As for the other lot who are 100% behind Rosa, Ian and Co. I have had letters not published, would you believe because of incorrect historical content.

    Paul and the Shetland Times team keep up the good work both on here and in print.

  9. Robert Lowes

    I’m relieved to see Ian Tinkler is back to his usual defamatory, accusatory, alarmist foaming-at-the-mouth self. He was being so nice to people during his failed election campaign that I was worried he must be ill.

  10. ian tinkler

    Thanks for that Robert, your eloquence does not change. I am well, just a little concerned about a few Trustees and The Trusts legal position. Have you sorted out Mareel’s funding yet? There may well be nothing left in The Trust quite soon to keep Mareel afloat! Let’s hope The Viking project construction and design is a more competent effort, otherwise we will see no returns from VE for about 25 years.

  11. ian tinkler

    Colin, with regard to my previous vilification of Shetland councilor’s behavior, events have proved most of what I believed to be true. Few would, I think disagree, I had letters and blogs selectively withheld from publication by the Times, which were then published by Shetland News, without a problem. That was selective censorship. The most important and relevant of these letters concerned clear conflicts of interest and failure of certain a pro Viking candidates to mention the VE project in their manifestos leading up to the recent election. My concerns about duality of interest and manipulation of the electorate by withholding their true position on VE, could not have been proved more correct.

  12. John Tulloch


    You and I have had our disagreements however I think any Shetlander who “bides Sooth” would acknowledge that the ST is a high quality rural/local newspaper in comparison to which the Argyll and Strathclyde equivalents are very poor, indeed.

    I think that not only has the internet led people to be less naive about the arguments and journalistic issues, they are also more prepared to be outspoken so I’d say you are likely more harshly judged than your predecessors.

    That said, if I were to make a criticism it would be along the lines of editorial censorship of letters and comments which are “off message – in fact, I recently sent in a comment criticising a rather glowing account of VE at a conference in Aberdeen and not only was it not printed, I was put in the “sin bin” for my next several comments – a not unusual occurrence, I’d have to say.

    I expect all editors do that and in the past it was less easy to expose when the ST enjoyed a full monopoly of local news – others may advise on this as I don’t know.

    Anyway, I wish you well with your future endeavours.

    PS Don’t give up on your study of the post-Copernican Solar System!

  13. Rosa Steppanova

    I’m obliged to Paul for telling me The Shetland Times came 4th/5th (out of five short-listed publications) in the Scottish weekly newspaper of the year awards. It’s an achievement to be proud of, but once upon a timeThe Shetland Times did significantly better (the exact number of 1sts and runnerups escapes me). Even under Jonathan Lee’s brief and dire editorship the staff received a gong. I rest my case.

  14. Paul Riddell

    A twisting of the facts once again: The Shetland Times was shortlisted and did not win, but the only distinction drawn was between winner and shortlisted, there was no ranking. The Shetland Times did win the Campaign of the Year Award for the Free Sakchai campaign under Jonathan Lee, but previous successes were in the Highlands and Islands rather than Scotland-wide awards.Only papers which exhibit regional journalism at its very best are shorlisted for the Scottish Press Awards. Perhaps we did not succeed because we did not have a gardening column – we’ll never know.

  15. Carly Sutherland

    If I wanted to read about flowers I would buy a Gardening magazine, The Shetland Times is great just the way it is. Good job Paul!