Be prepared for some fun and games between the UK Government's new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, and the BBC in the coming months. Still settling into her new role, she has attacked the corporation for its political bias and 'elitist' and 'snobbish' approach to staffing, and accused it of not giving a fair deal to youngsters from working-class backgrounds.
Dorries, who comes from a working-class background in Liverpool, and has gone on to become a best-selling author and Cabinet Minister, has warned the BBC that unless it changes its ways there will be no new funding deal from the government. While insisting that she does not want a 'war' with the corporation, she suggests it will have to set out how it will change its ways before the next licence fee settlement, which covers the five years from April 2022.
Sending a message to the BBC, when she spoke at a fringe meeting at the Tory Party conference, Dorries declared: 'It's about recognising that access and lack of impartiality are part of your problem'. She said that there was a 'groupthink' at the corporation which 'excludes working-class backgrounds … if you have got a regional accent in the BBC it doesn't go down particularly well'. She explained that it was not about quotas: 'It's just about having a more fair approach and a less elitist and a less snobbish approach as to who works for you'.
Dorries feels that the path from a poor background to the top of a career in the media or the arts has 'completely disappeared'. She pointed out: 'If you want to do that today you need a double-barrelled name, you need to have gone to a private or a public school, or your mum needs to know someone, or your dad needs to know someone, or you need to have a connection at the BBC'.
Two DC Thomson Media daily newspapers – The Press and Journal
(P&J) and The Courier
– are in the running for two top awards – Regional Newspaper of the Year and Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year – in the newsawards 2021. The winners will be announced on 11 November in London.
The two dailies face competition in the regional newspaper category from The Journal
, Newcastle, the Liverpool Echo
, London's Evening Standard
and The Irish News
. And the shortlist for the Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year includes: DC Thomson Media/Discovery Print (P&J
and The Courier
), and Newsquest Scotland (The Herald
The Edinburgh Reporter
will vie with five London titles – EC1 Echo
, Enfield Dispatch
, Hackney Citizen
, KCW London
and the Waltham Forest Echo
– for the ICNN Independent Community Newspaper of the Year.
And in the Regional Supplement/Magazine of the Year category, Glasgow's Greater Govanhill Magazine
is up against the Bury & West Suffolk Magazine
(BBP Magazines), the Cheshire Life
, Devon Life
and Yorkshire Life
(all Archant), ES Magazine
), and Velvet
Gary Cullum, director of newsawards, told Scottish Review
: 'After such a challenging time for the news media industry it's fantastic to see such impressive entries from all over the country and the world. Our two panels of judges have seen an excellent array of print, digital and commercial entries which has resulted in an exciting list of 2021 nominations'.
The Newspaper Awards were rebranded in 2015 as newsawards, with an entirely fresh format and look for the event. All the categories have been divided into highly focused sections reflecting the key areas of news media publishing: print, digital and business. They are not editorial awards and are the only awards dedicated to celebrating the best in news media print, technology and business innovation.
The Daily Record's
Naina Bhardwaj features on a shortlist of eight in the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year category in this year's Asian Media Awards, with the winners being announced in Manchester on 29 October. Joining Naina on the shortlist are: Alyshea Chand – ITN Productions; Andrew Misra – ITV Tyne Tees and ITV Border; Meera Navlakha, Renuka Odedra and Jeevan Ravindran – all freelance; Megan Samrai – Berkshire Live
; and Aisha Zahid – Sky News. The full list of shortlisted nominees for all categories can be found here
UK publisher Reach plc has appointed a team of 14 senior customer editors to cover regions of the UK and Ireland, as well as specialist areas including sport and newsletters. The team will 'serve as the bridge' between Reach plc's editorial and customer teams, and be responsible for developing editorial products.
The Daily Record's
audience editor, Nina Glencross, will take up this new role in Scotland. Non-regional roles include Ann Gripper, who will oversee Reach plc's national newspaper titles; Helen Harper, who becomes head of optimisation; and Alison Sanders, who will serve as head of newsletters.
Reach plc says the new team will focus on newsletters which generate 50 million page views a month across the company's portfolio and are a 'strong driver' in its bid to register more customers online. The team will also continue to work with colleagues from editorial and customer teams on a range of other initiatives designed to 'boost loyalty and engagement'. This includes recruiting a new team of nostalgia journalists, a content testing team and a digital content optimisation team.
Reach plc's audience transformation director, Martin Little, will be overseeing the changes, and he explained: 'Over the past two years we have built many of the foundations we need for our customer value strategy to succeed. Now we are using every tool at our disposal, including the increasingly rich data coming from the customer team, to help our editors create products and content that turn our readers into truly loyal customers and registered users. This new team will oversee the introduction of new data, technology and expertise to help our newsrooms live and breathe the customer value strategy and ultimately unlock the potential that a massive, loyal audience can deliver'.
The Inverness-based Highlands News and Media group has recruited its first live events and charities reporter, Imogen James, who will help publicise the work of charities and their supporters 'as they rally from being hit hard by the pandemic'.
Drumnadrochit-born Imogen (21), who recently graduated in English literature from Glasgow University, will work for the bi-weekly Inverness Courier
, and weekly titles the Highland News
, North Star
, Ross-shire Journal
and the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald
Imogen told HoldTheFrontPage
: 'I have always wanted to be a writer and I am passionate about using my voice to help others which is why this role was the perfect opportunity'.
Allan Rennie, who had a highly successful 30-year journalistic career in Scotland, has joined the Independent Press Standards Organisation's (IPSO) Complaints Committee as an editorial member for Scottish publications.
Stirling-born Allan, 61, has had a chequered career in the media. He was editor of the Clydebank Post
weekly at the tender age of 23 – the youngest editor in Scotland – before moving on to editorial roles at The Scottish Sun
, Scotland on Sunday
, the Edinburgh Evening News
and the Daily Record
– ultimately becoming editor of the Sunday Mail
for nine years before being appointed editorial development director at Trinity Mirror Nationals in London.
He returned to Scotland in 2011 as editor of the Daily Record
and played a major role in steering the birth of the Media Scotland company in 2014 – the result of a merger of the Daily Record
and Sunday Mail
and Scottish and Universal Newspapers to become Trinity Mirror's Scottish publishing arm. Allan was managing director and editor-in-chief of the new group's diverse portfolio.
He left Media Scotland in 2018 and is now an honorary professor of journalism at Stirling University, a non-executive director of NHS Forth Valley, and a member of the Scottish Government's short-life working group on public interest journalism.
Allan told me: 'Having worked inside and outside the industry, I hope I can use my experience to further advance IPSO's reputation as an independent, accessible and fair regulator. Championing freedom of expression while protecting the public from harm are not mutually exclusive. And both are key to a functioning democracy'.
Allan succeeds Janette Harkness at IPSO. Janette, a former journalist who worked in senior leadership roles across national and regional newspaper titles, is currently director of external relations at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
An interesting insight into the thought processes of the Scottish Field
magazine's editor Richard Bath – discussing its 'luxury' (its word) 292-page October edition. Richard muses: 'With COVID-19 shrinking everyone's world and bringing genuine hardship for some, we debated long and hard as to whether we should theme this issue around decadence. Eventually we decided that a little escapism is a vice we are willing to indulge.
'When times are tough there's something heartwarming about looking forward to the good things in life. Whether it's outrageously good food, gorgeous staycation venues or world-class gardens and interiors that spark ideas for our own homes, we hope that there's something for everyone in this issue.'
The honours in this year's Scottish Newspaper Society's annual award for student journalism go to Strathclyde University. The winner is Daniella Theis, with Anna Bryan as runner-up.