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Pro-independence think tank to close ‘unviable’ news website after review

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COMMON Weal is set to close its online news platform in July, the National can reveal.

Source News, formerly CommonSpace, is a digital service which was editorially independent from the think-tank. 

Source described itself as “a radical alternative to the mainstream media, offering perspectives on current events and issues of genuine significance: power, struggle, injustice and the complexities of a rapidly changing world”. 

It is understood that, during a board meeting last week, members decided that as part of a “structural review” the news service had become “unviable”. 

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READ MORE: Common Weal sets out plans for new Scottish care service to run alongside NHS

Originally CommonSpace was launched in 2015 in the wake of the independence referendum, but was rebranded in February 2020 as Source News. 

Common Weal’s interim director Amanda Burgauer confirmed the decision to the National.

She said: “Over the past few months Common Weal has been undergoing a structural review of all our activities. The review has established that Source, formerly known as CommonSpace, is unviable given the donations it is able to bring in, and so it is with great regret that the Board has concluded it will close in July.

“The Scottish media environment has changed a great deal in the seven years since our news and analysis platform was established. 

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“During that time our writers have contributed insightful and thought provoking analysis on a range of topics, from the case for independence to the care homes scandal.  

“We will soon be launching a new website which will enable us to provide a home to the valuable policy analysis that has appeared on Source.

“While the decision to close Source has been hard for all of us, it will enable us to invest more in Common Weal’s core activities. 

“Our primary role as a think tank is creating positive, forward-looking ideas and policy proposals – developing big ideas for Scotland – and we look forward to continuing with that important work.”

READ MORE: Robin McAlpine quits as Common Weal chief after angry article

The Common Weal think tank has contributed in a significant way to advancing policy ideas in favour of independence.

It has published a raft of detailed documents on many issues, including what currency an independent Scotland should use, on a “new green deal” for Scotland, on a new child care system, and on a universal basic income.

Last May, a report commmissioned by the think tank was highly critical of the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic spread in care homes.

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