1. New project to highlight independent local news publishers
A Google-funded project, highlighting the work of Scottish independent community-based news publishers, is to be launched in Glasgow with the multilingual hyperlocal magazine, Greater Govanhill
, awarded a grant to embark on a collaborative initiative.
The project aims to 'develop an innovative news product showcasing the best stories from Scotland's independent local, community-based media'. The grant is part of Google News Initiative's Innovation Challenge for Europe – a programme which aims to help smaller titles produce original journalism to create a 'more sustainable and diverse news ecosystem'.
A description of the Greater Govanhill
project explains: 'Right across Scotland, a wide range of independent local news publishers are providing communities with a vital service by sharing public interest news. Yet many are on the brink – surviving on little or no income [only] thanks to the dedication of a few key individuals. We need to strengthen this sector, and collaboration is a key means of doing this. It will enable publishers to share skills, resources and information – strengthening the sector and exploring new revenue opportunities'.
The project will use innovative membership software and impact tracking software to enable publishers to trial new practices. The benefits include maximising resources and increased revenue possibilities – uniting those with diverse expertise, stronger content and enhanced reach.
Ludovic Blecher, head of innovation at Google News Initiative, told Scottish Review
: 'With 605 applicants from 38 countries, we were impressed by the diversity and the quality of the proposed projects. There were creative solutions to common business challenges, including news organisations engaging with more diverse audiences, and providing greater transparency into how powerful institutions such as businesses and governmental organisations operate'.
Less than a year after its launch in December 2020, Greater Govanhill
magazine, which was founded and is currently edited by Rhiannon J Davies, won the Regional Magazine of the Year award from News Awards UK. The judges described it as 'fresh and innovative', and a 'runaway winner'. It has subsequently picked up further awards.
first issue was paid for by a community crowdfunding exercise and it has since raised funds through a mix of advertising from local independent organisations, membership revenue, and small-scale grant funding.
Rhiannon impressed upon Scottish Review
: 'We believe in doing journalism differently. We want to do journalism that serves the community and brings about positive change. A huge part of that is being open, approachable and inclusive'.
2. PPA Scotland reveals shortlists for its annual awards
The Professional Publishers Association Scotland (PPA Scotland) has revealed the shortlists for its annual awards. This year's winners will be announced at a dinner at Edinburgh's Dynamic Earth on 30 November.
The shortlists are dominated by publications involving the DC Thomson (DCT) and Think Publishing stables, while Holyrood
magazine and its editor Mandy Rhodes are in the running for several awards. Mandy is shortlisted in three categories – Editor, Columnist and Writer of the Year – with another three Holyrood
writers also vying for top prizes. Meanwhile, Holyrood
magazine itself is in contention in four categories: Business Publication, Commercial Performance, Event and Magazine Cover.
DC Thomson's golf magazine, bunkered,
is well to the fore: shortlisted in the Event, Magazine and Podcast categories. Robert Wight, editor of DCT's The Scots Magazine
, is in the running for Editor of the Year, while the magazine is contesting the Brand Extension and Consumer Publication categories.
The shortlists for this year's awards include:
Brand Extension: Little Escapes
, DC Thomson; Love Scotland Podcast
, National Trust for Scotland, Think; Scottish Caravans & Motorhomes Touring Special 2, The Scots Magazine
, DC Thomson.
Business Publication: EHN
, Think; Holyrood
, Dods Group; Surgeons' News
, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Children's Magazine: 110% Gaming
, DC Thomson; Beano
, DC Thomson; and Splash!
, Whale & Dolphin Conservation.
Michael McEwan, bunkered
, DC Thomson; Mandy Rhodes, Holyrood
, Dods Group; Louise Wilson, Holyrood,
Commercial Performance: Holyrood,
Dods Group; Ski & Board
Consumer Publication: The Big Issue
; Enable Magazine
, DC Publishing; Menopause Matters
; The Scots Magazine
, DC Thomson.
Customer/Member Publication: Historic Scotland
, Historic Environment Scotland, Think; Insight
, Children in Scotland; National Trust for Scotland Members' Magazine,
National Trust for Scotland, Think; RPS Journal
, Royal Photographic Society, Think.
Adele Juraza, Beer52; Mark Neil, The Big Issue
; Amanda Richardson, Think.
Editor of the Year:
Pamela Brook, Menopause Matters
; Rhiannon J Davies, Greater Govanhill
; Mandy Rhodes, Holyrood,
Dods Group; Bryce Ritchie, bunkered
, DC Thomson; Alan Roden, 1919 Magazine
; Sarah Speirs, CA Magazine
, ICAS, The River Group; Robert Wight, The Scots Magazine,
The Art of Breaking The Rules, Beano,
DC Thomson; bunkered LIVE
, DC Thomson; COP26 Fringe Festival, Holyrood
, Dods Group.
, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Think; Glug,
Beer52; The List,
The Big Issue Redesign cover, The Big Issue
; DONE? – Is This The End of Tiger Woods?, bunkered
, DC Thomson; Party Faithful, Holyrood
, Dods Group; Six young photographers to watch, RPS Journal
Winner to be announced on the night.
Newsletter: Menopause Matters
; My Weekly
, DC Thomson; and Petplan customer content
Podcast: The bunkered Podcast,
DC Thomson; and Love Scotland
, National Trust for Scotland, Think.
Winner to be announced on the night.
Writer of the Year:
Gemma Fraser, 1919 Magazine
; Laura Kelly, The Big Issue
; Chris Marshall, Holyrood,
Dods Group; Mandy Rhodes, Holyrood
, Dods Group; Ciaran Sneddon, RPS Journal,
Think; Margaret Taylor, Holyrood,
Eilidh Akilade, The Skinny
; Rory Doherty, The Skinny
; Robyn Gilmour, Ferment
, Beer52; Megan Merino, The List,
List Publishing; Xuanlin Tham, The Skinny
3. Journalistic duo from The Scotsman win awards
Two journalists on The Scotsman's
staff are featuring in National World's inaugural Editorial Excellence Awards. Martyn McLaughlin won the Best Use of Data category and David Hepburn triumphed in the Digital Engagement of the Year section at the awards ceremony in Leeds, co-hosted by National World's deputy editor-in-chief, Gary Shipton.
Gary told Scottish Review
: 'As we worked through more than 100 entries for the 15 awards, the extraordinary talent, creativity and expertise of our journalists shone through. Whether they are taking videos, recording podcasts, or bringing their own unique and trusted insights to key local stories, the professionalism of today's reporters and videographers is outstanding.
'Their powerful investigative skills, for example, in campaigning to reduce suicides among young people was particularly notable. There was also no shortage of humour as demonstrated by a winning video of a biscuit dunking test. As we celebrate this level of achievement we can be hugely optimistic about the future of our industry.'
National World's Journalist of the Year is Stephen Briggs, of the Peterborough Telegraph
, and the Lifestyle/Features Journalist of the Year award has gone to Abbey Maclure, of the Yorkshire Evening Post
. The most improved brand was Belfast-based Farming Life
4. Alex Forsyth to host BBC Radio 4's Any Questions?
BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth is the new host of Any Questions?
on BBC Radio 4 – succeeding Chris Mason in the wake of his appointment as the BBC's political editor. Alex's debut programme will be broadcast on Friday 4 November from East Midlands Airport, with members of a live audience putting questions to a panel drawn from across the entire political spectrum. Alex told us: 'Any Questions?
is one of the rare forums that allows people to put their questions directly to politicians and leaders, and I see my role as trying to get the answers they seek'.
5. Channel 4 News anchorman in off-air swearing debacle
Channel 4 News
anchorman Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off-air for a week after he was caught on microphone making a derogatory comment about Conservative MP Steve Baker.
(HTFP) relates that Guru-Murthy had interviewed the Northern Ireland Minister in a pre-recording for Channel 4 News
and the pair had what the journalist later described as a 'robust' exchange. After the interview ended, Guru-Murthy, who was outside Downing Street, continued to speak to the MP, who was inside parliament.
HTFP relates that Guru-Murthy had continued: 'It wasn't a stupid question Steve – you know it. I'm very happy to go up against you on Truss any day'. After chuckling to himself, Guru-Murthy exclaimed: 'What a c**t'. The swear word was not broadcast on Channel 4 News
but a clip of the exchange, which was on a livestream, found its way onto social media.
Guru-Murthy tweeted an apology to Baker soon after going off-air, and later explained: 'After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP, I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off-air. While it was not broadcast, that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly. I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry'.
However, in a statement Channel 4 pointed out that the apology was not enough to resolve the breach of its code, explaining: 'Channel 4 has a strict code of conduct for all its employees, including its programming teams and on-air presenters, and takes any breaches seriously. Following an off-air incident, Channel 4 News
anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off-air for a week'.
In an interview with Times Radio, Steve Baker said that sacking Guru-Murthy would be a 'service to the public' if he was found to be in breach of his code of conduct. Guru-Murthy has worked for Channel 4 News
since 1998 and became its main anchorman this year following the departure of Jon Snow.
Co-incidentally, ITV's political editor Robert Peston has been caught up in an incident involving the same swear word with a mispronunciation of the surname of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt – a pitfall which famously has also previously befallen former BBC broadcasters Andrew Marr and James Naughtie.
The Scottish Daily Mail's
columnist Ephraim Hardcastle delightedly highlighted Peston's faux pas
and confided that former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel had mischievously inquired: 'Why did he think that having the script line Jeremy Hunt's cuts
would end well?'
6. SFA opposes screening live soccer matches at 3pm on Saturdays
The Scottish FA is set to oppose any attempt by the English Football League (EFL) to drop the traditional Saturday 3pm television blackout. The EFL has invited interested broadcasters and media companies to suggest new ways of presenting the league on television and streaming platforms from the start of the 2024-25 season when its current deal with Sky Sports runs out. And one of the options under discussion is to lift the current ban on screening matches live between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday.
Current UEFA regulations allows the English FA and its Scottish counterparts to block live coverage of domestic or foreign matches between the two-and-a-half hour slot on a Saturday afternoon to safeguard attendances lower down the structure of leagues and protect grassroots participation.
The Scottish Daily Mail
reports: 'With the Scottish football pyramid heavily reliant on gate income as its lifeblood, Sportsmail has learned that the SFA will oppose any attempt to do so.
'While the EFL can reach a unilateral decision to scrap an arrangement which dates back to the 1960s, any fixtures broadcast in the English Championship, League One or League Two between 2.45 and 5.15 could not be beamed into Scottish homes unless Hampden relented.
'Should Sky strike a deal to buy up EFL rights in return for the blackout hours being dropped, Scotland's stance would pose the London-based broadcaster a logistical problem.
'A potential workaround for the English Football League is to move more fixtures to a slot outwith the existing blackout hours and show the games live or on pay-per-view.'
7. Reach plc boosts its coverage of women's soccer eightfold
The marked increase in coverage of women's soccer by media outlets has been further enhanced by Reach plc creating eight new women's soccer-writing posts. The publishing group has recruited women's football writers to cover London, Manchester, Merseyside, the Midlands and Wales as part of its commitment to ensuring that every English Women's Super League match is covered. Reach revealed that it had received an 'avalanche of applications – making these our most-applied for roles on record'.
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Caithness-born Hamish Mackay is now in his 57th year as an occasional/sometimes regular contributor to the UK's exceedingly diverse media market