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Media release: The Scotsman launches £7.99-a-month iPad app

January 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Design and graphics, Mobile

The Scotsman is today launching a £7.99-a-month iPad app.

The app, which will be free for the first 30 days, is aimed “to appeal to regular readers, subscribers and scotsman.com users, and offers the opportunity to grow readership amongst iPad users, business travellers, sports fans, expat Scots and commuters”, according to a release.

The Johnston Press-owned title added in the release that this is “Scotland’s first dedicated multimedia news iPad app”.

John McLellan, Scotsman Publications’ editor-in-chief, said in a statement:

This is a major development which keeps the Scotsman up to speed with the latest media technology. Devices such as the iPad will play an increasingly dominant part in the way people access information and this is one of the most important steps forward in the Scotsman’s 200-year history.

It is a very different experience to reading online and having been at the forefront of that newspaper revolution over ten years ago it is fitting that we are in the midst of this one.

Scotsman Publications’ managing director Andrew Richardson, added:

The Scotsman app offers the best of both worlds, giving readers the choice of either leafing through the pages of The Scotsman newspaper or of reading the content in a digital format, with live news, video and enhanced use of photographs. Either choice provides a great new way to keep in touch and up-to-date

The app is sponsored by train company East Coast for the first four months.

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UK publishers dominate top grossing iPhone news apps list

December 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Traffic

British news publishers are leading the way in the iPhone app download charts, according to rankings displayed in Apple’s iTunes store.

The Guardian (version 1) tops the list, followed by MailOnline in third place. The top five grossing UK news apps are:

  1. The Guardian (version 1)
  2. MailOnline
  3. The Economist
  4. The Sun: Bizarre
  5. The Scotsman

iTunes also lists the top free iPhone news apps but apparently uses an algorithm based on the last four days of sales/downloads. So, bearing in mind this is more of a snapshot (which may also be a bit  skewed because we are currently in holiday season), the top five free UK news apps are currently:

  1. BBC News
  2. Sky News
  3. MailOnline
  4. FT Mobile
  5. The Economist

At the time of writing, they also appeared in the same ranking for worldwide news apps.

The top five paid-for UK news apps are currently:

  1. The Guardian (version 1)
  2. This is Bristol
  3. The Scotsman
  4. Macworld UK
  5. MacUser Magazine

Journalism.co.uk’s own free news app, which features this blog, our main news, editorial job listings and press releases, is currently ranked 72.

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Despite group redundancies and pay freeze, Johnston Press CEO’s pay package nears £1m

Redundancies across the group and a pay freeze for all staff haven’t stopped the Johnston Press bosses taking home rather juicy bonuses for 2009.  As reported by the Times earlier this month, Johnston Press closed five papers last year, and 768 staff left the group in 2009. Pre-tax profits for 2009 were £43 million, a drop of 56 per cent.

But as reported by Johnston Press’ own paper, the Scotsman, John Fry, the group’s chief executive, took home £959,000 in pay, benefits and bonuses in 2009.

The package, reported in the group’s annual report this week, included: £210,000 cash bonus; a £210,000 performance-related bonus paid in shares (deferred for three years); and a basic salary of £525,000.

The Scotsman reports that his predecessor, Tim Bowdler, who retired in early 2009, was awarded £573,000 in basic pay in 2008. “All executive directors waived their right to a performance-related bonus that year,” it says.

Basic salary for the group’s two other executive directors, chief financial officer Stuart Paterson and chief operating officer Danny Cammiade, did not increase but they took home total packages of £655,000 and £590,000 respectively. In 2008 they took home £363,000 and £342,000 in total, respectively.

Here’s the comparison visualised in a chart. This shows the % change in £ from 2008 figures to 2009 figures (we’ve compared Fry’s pay package with Bowdler’s). The middle column at 0 represents the basic salary pay freeze across the group.

Blue: JP CEO pay package / Red: JP chief financial officer pay package / Yellow: chief operating officer pay package / Green: basic pay rise across group / Grey: total group revenue / Dark blue: advertising revenue / Magenta: JP pre-tax profit

Full Scotsman report at this link…

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Regional online traffic compared; Johnston Press comes out top

February 25th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism, Traffic

I’ve had a little play with today’s Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s (ABCe) six-monthly multi-platform report for July – December 2009 and produced a few graphs.

Johnston Press was top of the traffic charts with 384,016 daily unique browsers – partly thanks to the Scotsman which attracted 86,694 daily browsers on average over the past six months. In second place for daily unique browsers (which ABCe now prioritises over monthly statistics as a better measure of site popularity) came Newsquest with 320,975 browsers. Closely behind, Trinity Mirror, which recorded 287,130. Of the bigger groups, it was Northcliffe in fourth position with 256,123. GMG saw the biggest drop-off overall when period-on-period monthly unique browser figures were compared: -17.8 per cent.

For the next multiplatform report, it could be all change: GMG regional titles will be part of Trinity Mirror, following the sale agreement earlier this month; and the effect of Johnston Press’ pay walls, launched in November may well have kicked in. They seem to have had a limited effect on this period’s statistics, but it’s worth noting that traffic had fallen for the Johnston Press network from 6,985,175 uniques in October to 6,161,875 in December 2009: down by over ten per cent in two months. Traffic had been dropping off since July, however, well before the pay walls were introduced and of course, the group has only rolled out the scheme over a few of its smaller sites so far.  Unfortunately, the trialled sites don’t feature in the individual site break-down.

This chart shows the period-on-period change for each newspaper group, July to end of December 2009. (ie. compared with the previous six months)

Unique daily browsers, by regional newspaper group:

GMG Regional Network

Trinity Mirror

Iliffe News & Media Ltd (note that the largest column is its entire network overall, which includes other sites as well)

Johnston Press

Newsquest

Midlands News

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Johnston Press at centre of bid speculation but denies ‘any disposal process underway’ for the Scotsman

August 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported that a ‘consortium of Scottish businessmen is trying to buy The Scotsman newspaper from the debt-laden Johnston Press’. It claimed:

“Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, has joined forces with Edinburgh financier Ben Thomson and property developer Mark Shaw to acquire the daily.

“Talks have taken place in recent weeks but the two sides are believed to be a long way apart on price. Industry sources say Johnston is holding out for about £40m for The Scotsman, which it bought from the Barclay brothers for £160m in 2005.

(…)

“Sources close to Johnston confirmed an informal approach for the division, which includes Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News, but said there were no plans for a formal sale.”

Also of note is the claim that JP is in discussions with Newsquest, publisher of rival The Herald, ‘about a joint venture to pool resources. Previous attempts to merge the titles were blocked by politicians’.

AllMediaScotland links to the claims here and Shaun Milne comments here.

Like allmediascotland, Journalism.co.uk has received this statement from Johnston Press:

“Johnston Press notes the press speculation regarding the potential disposal of the Scotsman.

“Whilst Company policy is not to comment on such speculation, Johnston Press can confirm that the board does not have any disposal process underway in this regard.”

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Was the Scotsman right to sack Nick Clayton for blogging?

September 25th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Jobs

Earlier this week Journalism.co.uk picked up an update to Twitter from Nick Clayton, technology journalist, weekly tech columnist for the Scotsman, and recently signed-up blogger for Scottish media news website Allmediascotland (AMS):

The blog post in question – published on Friday 19 – mentioned, amongst other things, Clayton’s attempts to sell his house and the following statement, which seems to have riled The Scotsman:

“All but one of the too many estate agents I spoke to told me not to bother advertising in The Scotsman. Whether you’re looking for work or a home, the web’s the place to go.”

Clayton was told he was fired by Alison Gray, editor of the paper’s Saturday magazine, just hours after the post was put live, with it cited as the key reason behind his sacking.

“I’d written a slightly controversial blog entry for allmediascotland.com suggesting that, as websites replace printed newspapers, there would be little need for physical offices and that the role of the sub-editor would disappear. I hoped it would be a little provocative, but the most I expected was to have a few virtual brickbats lobbed in my direction,” said Clayton, in a follow-up piece.

Journalism.co.uk tried contacting the Scotsman, leaving messages with Alison Gray and the office of Tim Bowdler, chief executive of Scotsman Publications, but received no response to the following:

– does the Scotsman have a set policy on staff writing for external websites? and are journalists aware of this?

– could the blog post have been amended to prevent Clayton from losing his job?

– why was Clayton sacked for his comments on the state of print advertising after the Scotsman itself ran the story ‘Johnston Press hit by house market woes as property advertising slides’ on August 28?

Admittedly there’s no disclaimer on Clayton’s AMS blog – e.g. ‘the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of my employer’ etc etc – but nevertheless was this the right course of action for the Scotsman to take?

There’s nothing to stop a journalist from setting up their own personal blog or contributing in their professional capacity to another blog site – either as poster or commenter – and as the trend for doing so continues to grow more popular, will publishers start setting out stricter guidelines for what staff can and can’t say elsewhere?

Reactions like this and the idea of more stringent restrictions on where journalists can write online are counterproductive: letting journalists write, comment, engage and react with colleagues and readers online can help build an online community around them and their content, driving users back to the publisher’s site.

Spilling company secrets is one thing, but Clayton’s post was hardly exposing something that’s hidden from the rest of the newspaper industry.

Clayton has told me he’s contacted the National Union for Journalists (NUJ) (who haven’t got back to me either for that matter) – and I’ll be really interested to hear its stance on this: firstly, in reaction to the immediacy of his sacking; and more importantly, as to what this means for journalists working online, in multimedia and for multiple taskmasters.

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New study measures social media success of national newspapers

September 18th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

This week Martin Belham, of Currybet.net, released his study into the nationals newspapers’ use of web 2.0 tools, such as news aggregation and social media sites.

His aim was this:

“I wanted to examine, firstly, how well British newspaper content was performing on prominent social media sites, and secondly, see if there was any correlation between the placement of icons, widgets and links, and the presence of newspaper content on these services. In short, I wanted to measure UK newspaper success with social media services.”

In order to do this he monitored eight popular social bookmarking and link sharing sites for a month, checking for the presence of UK newspaper URLs on their front or most ‘popular’ pages. Between July 15 and August 14 he counted just over 900 URLs from 12 major newspapers across the services (the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, News Of The World, The Scotsman, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Times)

Here’s a peek at some of the findings:

  • The Telegraph was the most successful UK newspaper in this study, with 243 prominent URLs on social media sites between July 15 and August 14 2008.
  • The poorest performances amongst the nationals were from the Daily Star (4 links), and the Daily Express and The Mirror (3 links each)
  • The correlation between having an ‘icon’ or ‘button’ for a specific social media service, and success on that service appears to be weak or non-existent.

The full study can be downloaded from here, for £25.

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Online revenues up for Independent and Johnston Press, but print ads fall

August 27th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism

At the same time as reports of significant decline in UK and US print advertising, online advertising revenue is up for the Independent News Media Group (INM) and Johnston Press.

Johnston Press, the publisher of the Scotsman and over 300 regional newspapers and websites, announced that digital revenues had grown by 52.1 per cent to an unstated figure, in its interim results for the 26 weeks ending June 30.

The publisher reports that it will ‘continue to experience significant growth in overall audience reach – combining our newspaper readership with the rapidly increasing number of people visiting our websites.’

Meanwhile, INM, which – among other titles – publishes the Independent, the Belfast Telegraph and the Independent on Sunday, saw online revenue from advertising grow by 23.3 per cent to €15.9 million in the six months prior to June 30, it reported in its half-year results.

INM’s online revenue (including its stakes in other online ventures) rose buy 57.1 per cent to €30 million over the same period ‘reflecting good organic growth and a continuation of its multimedia investment strategy across all regions,’ the report said.

Online classified and display advertising now represents around 4 per cent of publishing advertising for the group. This increase was helped by ‘strategic’ investments in services such as price comparison, online gaming, image search, and mobile.

Nonetheless, online was included in INM’s overall group costs, which increased by 1.4 per cent. The publisher also recorded ‘certain online and education start-up development costs’ of €6 million and €19 million.

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NUJ plans ‘concerted campaign’ against Johnston Press cuts

August 13th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) representatives are gearing up for ‘coordinated action’ in response to cutbacks announced by Johnston Press.

Reps will tonight discuss plans for a campaign, the NUJ has said, following news of cuts at the Sheffield Star, Scotsman Publications, the Glasgow East News and the Ayrshire Extra.

Restructuring has put up to 30 jobs at risk at the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News, though no specific figure for the number of editorial job losses has been given.

A further 15 positions are to go as Johnston Press ceases publication of the Glasgow East News and Ayrshire Extra.

The union has also received complaints about working conditions at the Blackpool Gazette, which it has sent in a memo to the company.

The memo included claims that four news sub-editors have been working 55-hour weeks, while a junior reporter worked 110 hours in 11 days.

The publisher has disputed the figures stated in the memo, the NUJ said.

“Our members in Johnston Press want to produce high quality local papers, but they are finding they have to work incredibly long hours – sometimes dangerously long hours – in order to do so.

“Many of our members are already facing high levels of stress and these latest cuts will simply make an intolerable situation even worse. No wonder our members are calling for a concerted campaign against the company’s failure to invest in quality journalism,” said Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, in a press statement.

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UK national newspapers neglecting sitemaps for better search indexing

April 24th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Search

UK newspaper websites are not implementing standard protocols supported by search engines such as Yahoo and Google.

According to blogger and internet consultant Martin Belam, only two of the UK’s national newspapers use sitemap.xml
– a feature which lists all pages a given site wants to be indexed by a search engine.

And the winners are: The Daily Mail, which has sitemaps for individiual sections of the website; and The Scotsman, which has one central sitemap for all pages.

As Journalism.co.uk reported last month, TimesOnline and The Independent are the only UK national titles to support the ACAP protocol. They’ve made their choice – unsupported by the search giants – and so have the Mail and Scotsman, but what are the other paper’s doing to improve indexing of their content?

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