The Future of Scottish Newspapers: Is It In Our Hands Already?

THE future of Scottish newspapers, then. A well worn topic on this particular blog as regular readers will know only too well. But now it is to be subject of its very own summit tomorrow involving all kinds of canny people.

Politicians, newspaper folk, new meeja types, educationalists, all of them will ready themselves for the debate at Glasgow Caledonian University as detailed here. Some may wonder what's the point?

Yet the clue may be in the very name of the event. The future of Scottish newspapers. Not the death. Not the end. 

The future.


Times are tough. They've been tough before. Yet while we have in the past seen established titles and wannabe upstarts founder across the ages, the Fourth Estate in Scotland is still standing.

The fact that people are looking to what can be done to help them evolve has to be encouraging, no matter how bad it looks now.

Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of editorial workers, advertising staff and even the printers are worried about their positions. 

As they should be.

Just a short time into my own search for a job, I can assure all that it is pretty grim reading out there with most online search recruitment sites showing zero hits for jobs in Scotland and nothing much elsewhere in the UK.

At least, not as far as the Press goes. So how much worse will it be if dozens more flood the jobs market, all chasing but a handful of positions?

But despite these problems, it only truly reflects the job market as a whole. It isn't exclusive to the media trade. The end of the media world isn't yet nigh. Quite the opposite.

While some newspaper publishers reposition themselves, look at possible merger ideas like those suggested by Stewart Kirkpatrick, others are looking to not how to preserve the status quo and its comfortable borders, but what comes next.

In previous posts I've talked about the power of the humble mobile phone and its potential to become the newspaper media of the future, taking with it digital applications like page-turn, smart content and more.

Which is why I enjoyed reading Helena Deards article about such things over at the Editor's Weblog today.

It suggests, rightly, that we are currently only constrained by the technology at our disposal and imagination.

If we could only stop thinking of newspapers as an exclusively printed medium and start thinking of them in terms of content that people want to access, however they do it, then perhaps we could finally start to move on.

And what better way than future proof phones? There may be one, but this is clearly where the fastest advances are being made.

Once that psychological barrier has been overcome, once the finances are in place and once, ultimately, the reader is happy with the end result, only then can we judge if decisions we make now have been correct.

And if correct, we should benefit from a jobs revolution, rather than endure the current revulsion directed towards change for changes sake.

Unless people are prepared to shift with the times there will be ever fewer credible alternatives for publishing original content and far more publishers supping from the same, shrinking cup, offering far less choice and opportunity.

Doing nothing is the surest way of wrecking not only the future, but the here and now. So I wait with interest to see what, if anything, can come from the newspaper summit.

As Mediashift suggests, bloggers, especially niche bloggers, can fill some of the gaps left by newspaper shortcomings or, dare I say, closures. 

But they will always remain a poor second on their own. And where's the future in that?





Categories: Media philosophy & trends, Mobile

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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