The latest circulation figures for three of Scotland's most popular indigenous tabloid newspapers – the Sunday Mail
, Daily Record
and Sunday Post
– continue to reveal a relentless fall in copies sold. The circulation statistics for July reveal that, compared with July 2018, the Sunday Post
has been the worst hit – its 95,015 sales in July are down 17% on the previous year. The Sunday Mail
, at 111,909, was down 14%; and the Daily Record
, at 110,909, was down 11%. Although the publishers will, quite rightly, point to increasing online readerships, it is somewhat surprising and depressing to see sales continue to fall so sharply considering the Scots are reckoned to be among the most avid newspaper readers in the world.
UK national newspaper circulations fell across the board in July although The Guardian
will be relatively pleased that it has only fallen 5% to 130,484; and the Financial Times
is down only 7% to 166,663. The Associated Newspapers stable continues to fare pretty well with the Daily Mail
down only 8% for a sale of 1,164,319; and the Mail on Sunday
down 9% to 978,062.
The Sunday Times
has fallen 11% to 649,908 (bulk sales: 51,445), and The Times
is down 12% to 376,975 (bulk sales: 53,455), the Daily Telegraph
has dropped 12% to 327,879, as has the Sunday Telegraph
with sales of 257,034. We will have a look at the fortunes of the remainder of the 'popular' market next week, but one that does catch the eye is newcomer, the i
, which is down only 6% to 229,074 copies, although bulk sales of 50,453 have to be taken into account.
There is some well-earned cheer for The Times
and the Sunday Times
in that they now have 304,000 paid digital-only subscribers between them – up 19% year-on-year. Digital subscribers pay £26 a month after an £8 two-month trial period. The news brands also have some five million 'registered access' users who are able to read two free articles per week by signing up with an email account.
A digital subscription model for the two News UK titles was launched in 2010, and Times
editor John Witherow recently told the Society of Editors:
'Ten years ago The Times
pursued its own course... We recruited subscribers. We turned a profit. And we continued to invest in the highest-quality journalism. This might seem obvious now but it is only with hindsight that we see that we were years ahead of our rivals. The industry is still an exciting place to be. It always will be. The task is to adapt to the new technology, to make it our friend, to put it at the service of our journalism.'
I must confess that, although several magazines regularly drop through my letter box, I pay sparse attention to their wrapping and presume the clear, clingy stuff is cellophane, which my Compact Oxford English Dictionary
defines as 'a thin transparent wrapping material made from viscose'. I was none the wiser and the dictionary definition of viscose is too long to print here.
However, I was interested to see one of my monthly subscription magazines, Prospect
, proudly proclaim: 'Prospect
– now delivered in a fully compostable potato starch wrapper', carrying a plea to dispose of it in a food or garden waste bin or a well-maintained compost heap... adding sternly: 'Please do not put it in your recycling'. The magazine helpfully goes on to explain: 'Polycomp uses biopolymers, which are obtained by means of pioneering proprietary technologies using starches, cellulose, vegetable oils, and their combinations. If you have any feedback or would like more information about Polycomp, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Well done for this initiative Prospect
, which although new to me until recently, has been published since 1995 and has a circulation of around 45,000 copies. It is owned by financial services firm, the Resolute Group, as part of its not-for-profit public interest activities.
Its editor, Tom Clark, recently picked up the British Society of Magazine Editors' Editor of the Year Award, and deputy editor Steve Bloomfield shared the Orwell Prize with Suzanne Moore of The Guardian
. The Orwell Prize is the UK's most prestigious prizes for political writing and recognises and rewards the writing which comes closest to George Orwell's ambition to 'make political writing into an art'. While not wishing to plug the product (which anyway is not-for-profit), I must admit that Tom and Steve are turning out an excellent informative and authorative magazine. Tom was chairman of the editorial board of The Guardian
for a decade before taking over as editor at Prospect
three years ago. He is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.
Scottish-based independent sports publishing company, BackPage, has pulled off a major scoop by acquiring the UK and Commonwealth rights from US publishers Crown to a New York Times
book hailed as the new Moneyball. Astroball: The New Way to Win it All
, written by Sports Illustrated
journalist Ben Reiter, tells the story of how the Houston Astros went from being the worst team in baseball for more than half a century to winning the World Series three years later – in 2017. The book hit the New York Times
bestselllers list soon after its US release last year.
immediately struck us as one of the most important stories in sport,' said Martin Greig, of BackPage. 'It's got everything from the hard data of Moneyball
to incredible human stories, behavioural economics, psychology and a Hollywood ending. It's one of the best sports books we've ever read.'
BackPage was founded in Scotland in 2010 by Martin Greig and Neil White, two former sports journalists. Their titles include: Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
( made into a 2018 motion picture, Take the Ball, Pass the Ball
, by Universal) and: I Think, Therefore I Play
– the bestselling autobiography of football legend Andrea Pirlo.
first-ever female editor, Catriona MacInnes, is to retire in the autumn after more than 30 years with Dundee newspaper group DC Thomson. She has edited the Dundee-based daily newspaper since 2017 and said she had been planning to retire for the last couple of years. Newspaper industry website HoldtheFrontPage
quotes her as saying: 'It's been my intention to retire for the last couple of years but I have been encouraged to stay and accept new challenges and roles. I'm incredibly proud to have held the editorship of such a great newspaper.'
She began her DC Thomson career in magazines with monthly women's title Annabel
, where she was assistant editor and then editor. A period in teenage magazines followed before she moved to The Courier
in 1992 as deputy features editor. Over the years she launched the daily's weekend section and co-founded Living Magazine
As of 13 August, her successor had still to be announced. According to the Audited Bureau of Circulations (ABC), in the period from July to December 2018, The Courier
was selling an average of 33,144 copies daily – down 8% on the same period in the previous year.
Richard Neville, head of newspapers at DC Thomson and Catriona's predecessor at The Courier
, said: 'Catriona has done a fantastic job as editor, bringing new life and a fresh perspective to the role over the last two years. It is with very mixed emotions that I see her leave. I have twice persuaded Catriona to postpone her retirement, most recently so that she could take up the post of editor of The Courier
in the summer of 2017.'
recently appointed a new political editor, Paul Malik, who had previously been deputy news editor of the Evening Telegraph
. In Aberdeen, the Press and Journal
and Evening Express
have promoted Samantha Leckie to assistant editor (Aberdeen Journals). She will continue as editor of Society Aberdeen
The Press and Journal
and the Sunday Post
are now both DC Thomson stablemates. So perhaps it is not surprising to see a very much Sunday Post
-style couthy heading in the P&J
on a weather round-up story by Tess De La Mare: 'Dreich Scottish weather to continue'.