THE DUMBARTON DEMOCRAT

The Dumbarton Democrat is closing. Although successful in attracting many thousands of readers each week, this digital news platform can no longer sustain the level of news coverage it has during the past five years. All our reports, news and sports coverage, comment and features, and even community-based advertising, have been brought to readers FREE of charge over that period, despite the fact that West Dunbartonshire Council has refused to recognise our status as bone fide journalists and discriminated against us on a regular basis by refusing to adhere to the usual customs and practices which attach themselves to Freedom of the Press. Recent approaches to the new Scottish Labour administration at the Council have given no indication that they will change matters. To all readers, thank you for your loyalty. We are hopeful that some other well-intentioned news organisation or philanthropic individual, will step into the breach since both Dumbarton’s current local newspapers have closed their local offices and no longer accommodate editorial staff in the community here. They now sell only a small percentage of the newspapers they sold in the past. It would appear from their attitude – and their actions – that the Council is content to watch this happen. That it does not welcome press or public scrutiny and intends to retain the status quo in these matters. The SNP policy of obfuscation and cover-up looks as if it may be carried on here by the Scottish Labour Party.

One last thought for the day that’s in it:

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

by Max Ehrmann ©1927

Bill Heaney, editor/proprietor, The Dumbarton Dumbarton Democrat

Updated on June 8, 2022

1. Demise of The Dumbarton Democrat after a five-year run
One of Scotland’s preciously few independently-owned digital news platforms, The Dumbarton Democrat, has been forced to close and is looking for a new owner. The outlet is owned and edited by Bill Heaney, 76, one of Scotland’s best-known, iconic journalists: 60 years in the business: a former editor, at 21, of the Dumbarton Reporter, editor of the Lennox Herald, regional editor of the Scottish & Universal Newspapers group and three times voted Scotland’s Weekly Journalist of the Year.

On the enforced demise of his always informative news outlet, a deeply disconsolate Bill writes: ‘Although successful in attracting many thousands of readers each week, The Dumbarton Democrat can no longer sustain the level of news coverage it has during the past five years.

‘All our reports, news and sports coverage, comment and features, and even community-based advertising, have been brought to readers free of charge over that period, despite the fact that West Dunbartonshire Council has refused to recognise our status as bona fides journalists and discriminated against us on a regular basis by refusing to adhere to the usual customs and practices which attach themselves to the freedom of the press ethos.’

Bill reveals that approaches to the council’s new Scottish Labour Party-run administration have led to no indication of any change to that stance, and tells us: ‘We are hopeful that some other well-intentioned news organisation or philanthropic individual will step into the breach as both of Dumbarton’s current local newspapers have closed their local offices and no longer accommodate editorial staff within the community. They now sell only a small percentage of copies in comparison to what they sold in the past’.

However, Bill must be touched by how his readers have reacted with deep disappointment to the closure. Jim Bollan perhaps typifies their immediate response, declaring on The Democrat’s website: ‘Freedom of speech and expression are critical. And you served this purpose over the years. There will be a huge sigh of relief from those who do not want a light shone in dark corners in seeing you retire because you were a thorn in their flesh for many a year. Thanks for holding the local establishment to account for as long as you did’.

13 comments

  1. Sorry to hear this Bill. Freedom of speech and expression are critical, and you served this purpose over many years. There will be a huge sigh of relief from those who do not want a light shone in dark corners, particularly on the Council, to see you retire as you were a thorn in their flesh for many a year. Thanks for holding the local establishment to account for as long as you did. I wish you well and hope you have a long and restful retirement.

  2. Well done Mr Heaney.

    The Dumbarton Democrat was a voice in the community. A voice very much needed. A voice read by thousands every week. A voice resented by those in authority with something to hide.

    Thank you for contributing to the delivery of this voice. You have certainly played your part.

  3. Reporting on council meetings and matters – holding councils to account; court reporting: this is the bedrock of journalism. This is a sad day, Bill, for The Democrat and for you. But it is a sadder day for democracy itself. Thank you for ALL your work over these years.

  4. I read the Democrat avidly from the south of England and was so grateful to get from afar the other side of so many issues. Congratulations and thanks Bill for past efforts and hope you enjoy your well earned retirement. I shall be looking out for reasoned comments and contributions to other publications for you are a true Democrat.

  5. That’s a real shame, thanks for all your efforts.
    Our ‘local’ print newspapers are more akin to The Beano these days and this site was always far more informative and willing to ask questions.

  6. Fantastic , well informed local and national news feed , you have provided a great service to the community , will miss your regular updates. best wishes

  7. Very sorry to learn this news., Bill. The Democrat has been such a very positive achievement, a considerable labour of love, upholding the very best values of journalism. You have every right to feel very proud of what you have achieved, Well done. Ken

  8. So sorry to hear this, Bill. You have done a fine job as a journalist and editor over the many years and a valiant one in the last few with Dumbarton Democrat. Democracy is dimming but we (you?) have to keep going. 😚

  9. It truly is shameful that such a wonderful outlet has been treated in such a way. Bill you have always been a consummate professional, known and respected by everyone. You have left your mark. I sincerely hope someone takes the opportunity to keep things going. Quality journalism is an absolute must in these times and you have produced that throughout your career. Marion Scott

  10. The demise of the Democrat is a sad loss. Political pygmies of all stripes and the many straphangers who “work” from home will breathe sighs of relief knowing that an annoying busybody isn’t there anymore to tell the taxpayers of this failed council what is really going on.
    I hope you enjoy a long and happy retirement, although I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of you yet.

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