Your Noon Briefing: Regional newspaper sales in Scotland, France ‘meets the media’, will Scotland lose the BBC?, etc

AN across-the-board fall in the circulations of regional newspapers in Scotland was among the main items featured on yesterday’s Reporting Scotland news bulletin on BBC Scotland.

Business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser, did a piece about the picture throughout the country (watch it, here, from the eight minute, 40 second mark).

He also wrote an article online, here.

On BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland yesterday (here, around the one hour, 45-minute mark), the managing director of The Herald group of newspapers pointed to a record high in online readers.

Tim Blott also talked about growing subscription sales. Blott was also interviewed for Fraser’s piece.

And a story yesterday on the Herald & Times Group website begins: “HeraldScotland – the only platform in the Audit Bureau of Circulation list to operate a subscription paywall – recorded 66.1 per cent growth for July-December 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.”

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TRAINING on feature writing and pitching is being hosted by the National Union of Journalists – in Glasgow, on the 11th of next month.

The tutor is Jean Rafferty, a writer of fiction, journalism and non-fiction who has a doctorate in creative writing for her novel, Myra, Beyond Saddleworth.

The course costs £100 for NUJ members and includes a sandwich lunch.

For more details, click here. Or email Joan Macdonald here.

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THE will of Deirdre Romanes, the late owner of, among other Scots newspapers titles, the Dunfermline Press, has reportedly been challenged by her sister.

Romanes died almost four years ago.

The BBC says her estate was valued at £4.6 million. The story is also reported in The Herald.

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THE Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh was this morning where the deals were being struck; last night, at the same luxury venue, it was an awards ceremony, celebrating the best travel journalism in Scotland about France.

Four winners of the Franco-Scottish Press Awards received handsome travel-related prizes, handed out by Atout France, the French Tourism Development Agency.

They were Ann Fotheringham, for a piece in The Herald, about Normandy (she took the ‘Family holidays’ award); Matthew Hampton, for a piece in The Scottish Sun, under the heading, ‘Push those Pyreknees’ (Cycling award); Claire Hay, for a piece in Scotland on Sunday, about Languedoc-Roussillon (City breaks); and Valerie James, also SOS, about Alsace (Regional guides).

This morning’s event – over breakfast – was about various regional representatives conducting individual conversations with journalists about possible Press trips.

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THE journalist-turned-MSP, Joan McAlpine, is reported saying she is “very confident” that she has not beached any Holyrood rules over the commissioning of a photographer.

The former deputy editor of The Herald and former editor of The Sunday Times Scotland is today also at the centre of allegations about her private life – said to be linked to the commissioning – with the Scottish Daily Mail devoting its front page to her, for a second day in a row.

She even finds herself the subject of a full-page report in today’s Daily Record, for whom she writes a weekly column.

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THE comic characters, the Bash Street Kids, have been commemorated by having a street named after them.

‘Bash Street’ has been officially opened in Dundee, home to the comic’s publishers, DC Thomson – as announced here.

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SOME cheer for newspaper publishers? Read this interview with the managing director of the free newspaper, the Metro.

Steve Auckland is quoted, in The Guardian, saying: “There are a lot of people rushing out of print to go online. But I’m quite happy to rush into print because there’s a lot of money to be made out of print, and I’ll take as much as possible. And you know what – the agencies are crying out for that message. Everyone I’ve talked to has said it’s refreshing to hear somebody who is actually willing to innovate in print.”

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A FORMER sports editor at the Edinburgh Evening News has today been named ‘group development editor’ at the newspaper publishers, Trinity Mirror.

Says Trinity Mirror, in an announcement: “Toby Chapman, editorial development manager for regionals, has been promoted to the new role of group development editor. Toby will be heavily involved in the ongoing transformation of the group’s news brands as well as ensuring further collaboration between the regional and national teams.”

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AN evening class in fashion writing is to be hosted by the college, Glasgow Clyde College, being run by fashion writer and designer, Mairi McDonald.

It starts on the 11th of next month.

For more information, click here.

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WILL Scotland lose the BBC, if it votes yes in the upcoming independence referendum? The Westminster culture secretary, Maria Miller, reportedly believes it should.

Says The Guardian: “The culture secretary has told Scots that they will lose the BBC if they vote for independence in September. Maria Miller said a vote for Scottish independence would be a vote to leave the institutions of the UK, and that included the BBC.

“The culture secretary said in a Q&A session after her speech at the Oxford Media Convention [yesterday] that the BBC was ‘part of our crown jewels’, and was too important for the debate about its charter renewal to become embroiled in party politics.”

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THE broadcaster, ITV, is reportedly on the acquisitions trail, following the announcement of its latest financial results.

Begins The Scotsman, today: “Broadcaster, ITV, said it was on the hunt for acquisitions as it posted an increase in profit yesterday that will help fund another special dividend for shareholders. In the fourth year of a five-year turnaround plan, chief executive, Adam Crozier, said the group had taken ‘another step forward’ after profits rose 27 per cent to £581 million.”

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