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« Your household budget is under attack | Main | Michael Nyman meets Niel Gow - in Edinburgh »

January 29, 2011


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Newsnet seems to be just another party political mouthpiece. I was amazed to see it backing the SNP's shameful position on the Libyan attacks. That doesn't seem to be very 'anti-establishment'.

Do you support this new war btw?

Poblish is a non-partisan political aggregator (blogs, Twitter, etc.) with wide coverage of Scottish politics, and also part of the Political Innovation campaign. The emphasis has been more on knitting together content, building connections, and identifying trends - rather than having editors as such, but it should give an idea what can be achieved:

hi Craig thanks for posting, fascinating as my family activities are, I wouldn't suggest posting about them on an online newspaper. However isn't it the cast that HuffPo drove a lot of traffic to the site by posting quickly on trending topics, esp in the area of entertainment? I believe a huge amount of their team's time is still devoted to watching what's trending and making sure they respond - though of course the site continues to by politics focussed - they don't bother with crime/human interest news for example

I don't know if I agree with the idea of mixing the personal with the political/professional on a HuffPro style site. After all, while I enjoy reading what Joan says about politics and news, would I want to read what she did with her kids? Her film reviews?

(Also, from a SEO point of view and gaining new readers you would be diluting the point of your site(s) which is why I split mine up)

A tartan HuffPro could be very interesting though and wouldn't automatically need a lot of backers, just X amount of people willing to contribute on a semi-regular editorial basis.

I think what we need is a good look at Online radio which will be a huge phenomena in the next few years


Thanks for saying you will look into Rab.

If CalMerc is strapped for funding then they are going a funny way about getting more. Annoying the folk who might be prepared to subscribe to a journal that is even handed. Doesn't have to be proSNP, just be fair and evenhanded.

As it is, the editor of CalMerc has to protect their political analyst who seems partial, to my POV, which is, I admit, not unbiased

@douglasclark you raise interesting points that I have debated at length with folk. I believe the challenge is to get our sites up to the sort of professional level that will attract an audience beyond the politically engaged. That will require investment both in content and to enhance the sites technologically. The crucual thing is to post non-political material as well as the political stuff. Sometimes that can be hard because there is so much firefighting to do. But it is through entertainment, sport, culture and business - as well as hyperlocal content - that we will reach a wider audience.

Dear Joan,

I have said elsewhere that your site, and indeed Newsnet Scotland (and perhaps Bella Caledonia), are the 'go to' places for an alternative to mainstream media. I stand by that.

I am keen to see all of these sites grow to be where people read and learn. I have however no idea how that can be achieved.

Have you any thoughts on whether this sort of stuff is just preaching to a very small choir, or whether it is actually useful? For instance how many people read you rather than post? How many Labour supporters read your stuff and change their minds?

My 'go to' hero of the internet is a chap called Sunny Hundal and even he seems to recognise that we are a bit beyond making this media matter. At least beyond the margins.

And he was the chap that almost single-handedly made the debate on 'community leaders' a no no. Which was an important point to make. So, on some topics we can make a difference, but can we make a difference that matters?

I'd be grateful for your views.

re Rab...I suspect they may have run out of money as he was by far their biggest asset. Must look into it.

Does Rab still work for the CalMerc?

I thought perhaps Mr MacDonell's perspective was the only one desired there as I haven't seen Rab's sketches for a while.

Hamish tried a sketch, which had to get puled because he made attacking jokes against Mr Swinney and it was Hamish who was proved to be wrong.

Arguing for more power for the Scottish Parliament within the Union was still arguing for the continuation of the Union and that argument has never been a problem within the Scottish press.

The Scottish papers never wanted independence for Scotland and that outlook has not changed but what has changed is the political landscape they are reporting on. Before it was a choice between the status quo or a devolved parliament which allowed them to support devolution because it was and still is simply local government reorganisation within the Union. Now it is choice between a devolved parliament or independence.

There is also the point that the bulk of the press in Scotland have always been Labour supporting papers and at the time of devolution the Labour party wanted to create redoubts of devolved government in Scotland and Wales to protect the party during a Conservative Government in Westminster and the papers simply followed the party line. Now the Labour party do not want to transfer any more powers at all to Scotland, whether legal or fiscal, and the papers follow the party as usual. The Calman commission with its convoluted and bureaucratic funding mechanisms and minimal power transfers both ways is a prime example of that desire by Labour to maintain the status quo. The failure of the press to criticise Calman is also an indicator of the links between the press in Scotland and the Labour party.

The papers have not retreated into a unionist bunker because they never came out in the first place.

There is no confusion. There were many radical people working in Scottish political journalism in the pre-devolution period who wished to see far more power than Scotland eventually obtained. The natural next step for the papers was to push for more power for the parliament. Instead they retreated into a unionist bunker, indeed seem to have gone backwards. There are many complex reasons for this, to do with the decline in newspaper influence, the competition from titles such as the Mail, as well as the long standing fear Scottish elites have of backing real change which might threaten their position.

"...notably the absence of any pro-independence, or even pro- Scottish voice in the mainstream media. This is perplexing. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, the media in Scotland was broadly sympathetic to Home Rule"

The answer is that Home Rule is not independence and though the papers were happy for Scotland to gain another layer of government within the union the next step is independence and they certainly don't want that. The Herald, Scotsman, P&J, Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Sunday Post, Sunday Herald and the SOS have never advocated independence as far as I know and being a, "Scottish voice", in 2011 is a little too close to supporting the SNP for all of them.

It's a mistake to confuse the desire in the 70's and 80's to reorganise local government within a unitary UK with any sympathy for independence.

"The US blogosphere, as in England, was dominated by the libertarian extreme right"

Many blogs are indeed libertarian. But not "right" libertarian:

But it still has a 'profanity filter' from our publicly funded BBC, Mubarak would be proud to have such a resource at public cost.

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