The National Union of Journalists is calling on the Scottish government to carry out an inquiry into the effect that editorial cutbacks are having on “a free and diverse media in the country”.
A similar inquiry was held by the Welsh Assembly last year – with a report expected shortly. The union’s Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said in a release:
The NUJ in Scotland has sought political support for our hard pressed industry for a number of years but the situation has deteriorated to where there is a serious threat to the future of titles but also to the existence of some newspaper groups. We believe there is a duty on government to intervene and help create a safer, robust environment for the press and media to operate.
A motion at the Scottish Trades Union Congress said:
Congress calls on the general council to urge the Scottish Government to set up urgently a Commission of Inquiry into the future of the media in Scotland, and to call on all member unions and the Scottish Government to promote the survival of thriving and responsible media, including:
supporting the creation of a Scottish Digital Broadcasting Network;
supporting the development of trust models of media ownership, such as the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian and Observer Group;
campaigning for the development of new forms of community media;
identifying and prosecuting media behaviour that breaches privacy laws;
developing new regulatory mechanisms to replace the discredited UK Press Complaints Commission; and
encouraging the development of new sources of funding for investigative journalism, including academic institutions and foundations concerned with civil society and democracy.
The paper said: “After the club’s 4-1 victory over Dunfermline Athletic, listeners to Radio Scotland’s Sportsound programme heard BBC reporter Chris McLaughlin state that a Rangers press officer had stopped him recording. A witness said: ‘He was asked to remove his microphone and the conference carried on.'”
A consultation on defamation of the deceased could be launched in Scotland by the end of the year, it has been reported this week.
STV reports that Scottish ministers are to consult on reforming the law so that defamation claims can be brought on behalf of the dead.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to launching a consultation on the defamation of the deceased (including homicide victims) and we expect to launch the consultation paper before the end of 2010.
“These are important and sensitive issues, involving a careful balancing of fundamental rights, and we are determined to take every care to ensure that they are addressed appropriately. Scottish ministers will examine the consultation responses carefully before issuing their response to it.”
Hyperlocal monthly newspaper the North Edinburgh News is under pressure to close following funding cuts, reports Tom Allan, in a piece which raises questions about the future and sustainability of community and hyperlocal media.
BBC Radio Scotland is running a journalism experiment of sorts today – pitting an office-based, but internet-enabled journalist against another hack only allowed to ferret out stories face-to-face without even so much as a mobile phone for company.
The pair will be tasked with finding stories specific to the village of Cellardyke in Fife. Of course, a bit like the social media experiment by journalists in France, you have to wonder what the point of separating supposedly ‘old’ and ‘new’ skills is when the two can and should be combined. But in an age where many working journalists report a more desk-bound culture in the newsroom, the outcome will be interesting to see.
According to Allmediascotland, renowned journalists Bill Heaney and Joan McAlpine will then have to identify the source of each story produced and judge which made for better reading.
Scottish media news website Allmediascotland wants to know whether journalists working in Scotland want a media club. Such a club could offer “regular speaker events, parties and dinners” as well as space for hotdesking and interviewing.
The site is conducting a survey to gauge interest in the club, which could lead to a festival of journalism, annual media awards and exhibitions of Scottish press photography, it says.
The Scottish government has scrapped its plans for legislation, which would have allowed local authorities to place public notices solely on the internet. The proposals had been heavily criticised by representatives of the local press, who feared the legislation would cut off a much-needed revenue stream.
But the fight from local authorities isn’t over – a spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities says the portal for public notices will still go ahead and evidence to support the future introduction of such legislation will be gathered.
Having set-up a discussion group online and run two successful offline meet-ups, Adam Westbrook’s Future of News initiative has inspired new events in the West Midlands, Brighton and Scotland. The idea: to discuss new tools, new directions and share ideas for the future of UK journalism.
On the same date Journalism.co.uk’s own Judith Townend has set-up the first meeting of the Brighton group – with scheduled talks from the Brighton Argus’ web editor Jo Wadsworth and the Guardian’s Simon Willison. It’s at The Skiff from 7.15pm – and you can sign up here.
Both of which have got digital editor Iain Hepburn wondering what demand there is for a similar meet-up in Scotland. If enough people register an interest, he says he’s happy to get the ball rolling. If you are, let Iain know on this blog post.