McLellan's Scotsman!


I have a feeling that reading any of the online editions of The Times, The Telegraph or The Guardian is a slightly mournful experience for many Scots these days.

Why? Because even on a treadmill day in UK politics the English reporting tends to be well above the increasingly spiteful and insular nature of their Scottish counterparts.

Love them or hate them, the often insightful cream of English broadsheets makes most of their Scottish fellow professionals look like a spoonful of thin crowdie by comparison.

Negativity and politicking has never been the way to make friends or to influence readership. It's akin to attending a funeral day after day while at the same time being accosted by a mothball smelling, morbidly excited stranger telling you exactly who in the village will die next week. You soon move on!

And so it has proven with The Scotsman; readers have simply moved on; along with the advertising revenue.

Just try saying the following words out loud 'The Scotsman, Scotland's National Newspaper' and you can almost hear the hinges of your jaw creak as the words come out.

Successive editors have managed to reduce the Scotsman's readership to a paltry 46,300 copies per day and to put that in perspective the Daily Star in Scotland sells 351,024 copies and this is a paper i have never actually seen anyone buy!

Even worse is the fact that the English titles like the Times and the Telegraph, newspapers with little more than a representative office in Scotland outsell the Scotsman when the figures are combined; no one is rushing out to buy the Scotsman these days, certainly not Scots.

The reasons for the decline cannot simply be attributed to the overall fortunes of printed media. Negativity, editorial politicisation, the abundance of re-hashed stories gleaned from other media sources and a failure to provide Scotland with a neutral platform for real debate during the most important constitutional period in the country for over 300 years all have their part to play.

The facts that readers and advertising revenue have and will continue to desert The Hootsman faster than Gillette are binning Tiger Woods should be an indication to any editor that a change of direction is required; it is after all his responsibility to get the readership and in its slip-stream the advertising revenue up!

The Scotsman is not Scotland's national newspaper and never has been in my lifetime. What has changed in my lifetime is that is has transformed from an Edinburgh Tory read into an unsophisticated piece of medieval siege machinery to be used not only against the SNP but also against the the developing political and cultural aspirations of Scotland.

However not all is lost. The Scotsman is without doubt a weak link in the portfolio of Thomson Newspapers Ltd and has been seen as such for some time. Local papers always sell while national papers fail.

There have already been speculative approaches for the title but lets hope that before long a proprietor can be found to at least offer Scotland the semblance of a neutral and discursive newspaper!

Scotland needs it now more than ever before.




9 comments:

Bugger said...

Merry Xmas Nevsky and loads of chewable bamboo in the New Year.

Nevsky said...

Bolshoi spaseeba!

Conan the Librarian™ said...

A rival I see...

Nevsky said...

I will leave the Hootsman to you my friend as you do a much better job of parody than me; i am happy concentrating on spoofing the nutters working there :-).

sm753 said...

I see your grasp of fact and reality is as feeble as ever.

Who exactly are "Thomson Newspapers Ltd", and what is their connection to the Hootsmon?

Fail.

Try again.

brownlie said...

Welcome to the shady and shifty world of blogging.

brownlie said...

sm753

Easy mistake to make when the Scotsman is turning into a comic! Are you desperate, Dan?

Nevsky said...

Thank you Brownlie..and thanks for the add; it's appreciated.

SM753..i might swing by if you have a blog sometime...is it witty and worth reading or all facts and figures?

Nevsky said...

sm753...oh i am just begining give me a break! However as i do have at my disposal some Russian staff who during the period of festivities will be enjoying my vodka and zakuski..i will be putting them to good work on photoshop... :-)

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