Tuesday 23 September 2014

Scottish Press; Dialogue on Media - EIBF August 2014.

The dead wood press is now selling a quarter what it once did and that most of the Scottish press is now under foreign ownership. 

This event was hosted by journalist Ruth Wishart, and with fellow journalists Iain MacWhirter (Herald) Stephan Khan (Observer London) and Niki Seth-Smith (Common weel).
They spoke of the vigorous diversity of the Referendum debates in particular online websites such as National Collective, Kiltr, Bella Caledonia etc.  

Iain MacWhirter (Herald)
He said that professional Journalism allows for long form research.
He talked of Online Journalism. Citizen journalism provides more and cheap instant views, when journalism becomes often opinion journalism. Media used to be the privileged elite but now everyone has a voice.  There is a difference between sharing information though, instant opinions and researched facts.

The Decline of Scottish press stood at a drop of 100,000 sales per year, that it maybe had 5 years left. .
Most of the Scottish press was now foreign owned and The Scotsman had been taken over and had become the Daily Mail of Scotland. He said the dead tree press (professional journalism) are the cultural curators. The business model doesn't work on the internet though and the trouble is that real journalism cant' be done for nothing. 

He spoke of the one-sided media right now in Scotland which is hostile to independence.  What is happening here would be illegal in Scandinavia as the constitution is to have diversity of press. 
We have only had the one newspaper here - The Sunday Herald - supporting independence in Scotland.  He said that the BBC is still dependent for news on the dead tree press. 

Stephan Khan (Observer London) spoke of the plurality of press
He said the new consumer was more sophisticated. The problem with new media is there was often no raw copy and no research online. 

The question now is what happens after the Referendum. 
There was good online media and entrepreneurship but which do too often relies on press stories. 

He said, 'Comment is free, facts are sacred.'
He spoke of the need for objectivity and the blurring of the line between comment and fact.  Journalist will also make academic papers readable for the general public.  
Niki Seth-Smith (Common weel)  stated that online there were also often multiple drafts and editorial time too to provide decent facts with rigorous fact checking.   

MacWhirter suggested public funding for say a National Enquirer paper that was for factual news gathering rather than opinions or speculations and to help to ensure diversity of expression was properly informed.
The BBC is struggling with devolution or what it is really about.  Scotland has national politics and no national press. I notice now that many of the respected in this debate are not going on the BBC news programs - understandably. 

They thought that the best bet for small democracies was an open democracy that also pays contributors. 
Twitter feeds are difficult at reflecting on news with no longer articles and they felt that Print still has a future.