New blog URL

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

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Filed under AV, Journalism, Labour, media, newmedia, ONA, Scotland, Technology, Uncategorized, weird

Nicol Stephen quits as Scottish Lib Dem leader

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

Another one bites the dust. Scottish Lib Dem leader, Nicol Stephen, has just quit. Says he wants “more time with my family”. Hmmmm, what does that really mean?

My money’s on Tavish Scott to succeed him.

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First podcast by Scottish journalism blog

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

I believe this is the first anyway… It’s about my experiences being embedded in the civil service for a while.

Souralba Podcast #1

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Bendy Wendy bows out

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

Wendy Alexander has resigned as leader of Scottish Labour. This is the right decision not because of any donation nonsense but because she’s an uncharismatic policy wonk.Very bright and all that but she doesn’t have ingredient X.

Labour now need to find a leader with brains *and* people skills, someone who can match Salmond and Sturgeon on the intellectual and rhetorical level.

Sadly for Labour, there’s no-one matching that description on their benches…

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Filed under Labour, politics, Scotland, scottish, Scottish Labour, SNP

Finger of Fudge vs the Beach Boys: so wrong it’s right

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

Yay for crazy mash-ups. This one effortlessly blends the delicate harmonies of the Beach Boys with a fondly-remembered advert of my youth.

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Ex-Scotsman editor on demise of Scottish papers

Former Scotsman editor John McGurk has produced a fascintating investigation for the BBC on the future of the indigenous Scottish quality press. His conclusion is that it’s fucked.

When I was editor of scotsman.com (seven years, ten-fold increase in readerts, ahtankyew) John and I had our differences insofar as he would joyfully have strangled the online edition in its cot. But he has hit the nail on the head with this piece.

As well as exposing the guilty secret of plummeting sales at the Horrid and Hootsmon, John reveals that public sector advertising worth £47m will no longer be placed in the Scottish nationals. To put that the effects of that in layman’s terms: game over, man, game over.

Some thoughts occurred to me:

  • If the Scottish public sector (and the politicians who run it) want native Scottish journalism they should continue to advertise with the Scottish nationals.
  • They are under absolutely no obligation to do so, any more than readers are obliged to buy the papers.
  • This is a lesson that the Scotsman and Herald have not learned. They are owned by companies (Gannet and Johnston Press) that insist on obscenely large profit margins and sacrifice quality to achieve them. Both papers are produced on a shoestring. It shows. The quality of journalism in both papers has fallen drastically. That’s why people don’t buy them. Why should they?
  • At no point did John mention the Metro. On the 26 bus to the centre of Edinburgh people used to read the Scotsman but they now read the Metro – a low quality tabloid packed with wire copy. As that’s what Scotsman has become why should people bother paying money for it? (Oh and Johnston Press does not understand The Scotsman and their much-lauded digital strategy is deeply flawed – no matter how much Tim Bowdler clings to it when the share price falls. Again.)
  • While Andrew Neil and John spoke movingly about the decline of Scottish papers they were strangely reticent about their own contribution. Brillo in particular has been loud in his condemnation of JP’s record at the Scotsman (correctly, by the way). However, the wirily coiffed one is not so hot on his own record. A listener phoning in to BBC Scotland’s Morning Extra to discuss John’s report had this to say: “These two were handed a quality paper and handed back the Beano at the end of their tenure.” McGurk had no answer to that but a joke about how healthy the Beano’s sales were. For years, I tried in vain at the Scotsman to discover the exact decline in sales when Neil was in charge but no-one could ever tell me. I do know that his stewardship was a wasted opportunity. He had the backing and the ambition to take the paper forward but his bloody true believer Thatcherite ideology got in the way and he alienated the readers and lost many, many fine journalists – mostly to Business AM.
  • The Herald and Scotsman will merge soon. Both titles will survive as west and east coast editions of one product. I don’t think either Gannet or JP have the vision (or cash) to do that. As John said in his piece, PLCs are a bad bet for newspapers. I believe the future lies with trusts and family firms. My money’s on DC Thomson or the Guardian to buy and merge them. I have no reason for thinking this other than a feeling in my water.

Finally, readers still care. One lady on the phone-in lamented the demise of the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch. But despite feedback from readers, Charles McGhee of the Herald did not seem to take on board any of their criticisms. And that’s part of the problem too.

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Filed under Journalism, Scotland, Uncategorized

Strange places fitba takes us

Hey everyone, I’m changing my blog to the following URL: www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba. Sadly, wordpress.com won’t do a proper redirect so can I ask you to change your bookmarks. All the posts are the same at the new site and this one will remain but new posts will only appear at www.stewart-kirkpatrick.com/souralba.

As someone who has just spent £400 on a Hibs season ticket, I don’t often (read: ever) find myself cheering for Glasgow Rangers. But, tonight, for one night only, I find myself wanting them to win the UEFA Cup final. So let me join with many other non-Ibrox-aligned fans in saying: “Come on, Scotland’s shame!

EDIT: And sadly it seems the “Scotland’s shame” tag is all too accurate. Scottish football fans have spent decades winning a worldwide reputation for gentle good humour. But then along came the Gers to change all that.

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