Your Noon Briefing: Joan Burnie, Johnston Press financial results, etc

ONE of Scotland’s best-known and loved journalists, Joan Burnie, has penned her final column for the Daily Record newspaper.

Burnie – recipient of a lifetime achievement award at the Scottish Press Awards six years ago – has written for the Record for 35 years.

In a double-page tribute in the paper yesterday, she is quoted, as saying: “I don’t think there is any subject I haven’t written about or given an opinion on. It’s time to move on.”

The standfirst reads: “She’s had fan mail and hate mail for her hard-hitting opinions as an agony aunt and columnist… On the eve of her final Record column, Joan Burnie reveals what has made her tick down the decades.”

Read her final column, published today, here.

In typical style, she begins: “I joined the Record as their agony aunt in 1979 on a six-week trial. Ever since, I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me to stop.”

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AN Edinburgh public affairs consultancy has been launched, as a co-operative advocating highly ethical practices.

Including former senior assistant editor at The Scotsman newspaper, David Lee, Public Affairs Co-operative Ltd says it “guarantees an ethical, entirely transparent approach to business – based on high professional standards”.

Says one of its five members, founder, Neil Cuthbert: “Lobbying and public affairs is still seen as some kind of ‘dark art’. You have to start asking yourself not only why that’s the case, but why it’s failed to change. Despite being an industry that works to protect its clients’ reputations, it has somehow failed to protect its own. I believe that’s because it’s not done enough to define its values.”

The co-op believes it is a public affairs first, at least in Scotland. Its aims include donating a set percentage of any profit to charitable causes and it says it accepts there is need for public affairs to be regulated, a view not universally shared.

The other three members are Ben McLeish, Emma Beeby and Paula Paterson.

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THE publisher of The Scotsman and several other Scots newspapers has posted a rise in ‘underlying operating profit’ – for the first time in seven years.

Begins Gareth Mackie, in The Scotsman: “Newspaper publisher Johnston Press today reported its first rise in underlying operating profits for seven years as lower running costs helped to overcome a fall in revenues.

“The Edinburgh-based owner of The Scotsman posted a profit of £54.3 million for the year to 28 December, up from £53 million a year earlier, on revenues 5.5 per cent lower at £291.9 million.”

The results can be viewed here. They show net debt down £17.3 million to £302 million.

holdthefrontpage website leads with the figure of more than 600 posts having been shed by the company, which operates UK-wide, over the period.

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ADVERTISING folk unable to make it, in person, to an annual Europe conference about the sector can nevertheless watch proceedings online.

Live streaming from the five-day conference – Advertising Week Europe – begins from 0800 hours on Monday, here.

The conference is taking place for a second, successive year at the UK headquarters of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA), in London.

Advertising Week Europe is now in its second year, an US counterpart having been operating for the last ten years.

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THE Scots broadcaster, John Leslie, is to begin presenting a Saturday morning radio show, simultaneously across several Scots commercial radio stations.

As announced here, he is to begin this weekend, as part of the Greatest Hits Network on some of the Scots stations operated by Bauer Media.

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THE Glasgow-based BBC arts programme, The Review Show, is being axed, with its final airing taking place on Sunday.

Says the BBC website: “The panel show, currently presented by Martha Kearney and Kirsty Wark, has been on air for more than 20 years in different formats but was moved from BBC Two to BBC Four last year.

“Earlier this week, [BBC] director general, Tony Hall, pledged to put culture ‘at the very heart’ of the BBC.”

Phil Miller, in The Herald, quotes an ‘industry insider’ saying that staff working on the show are expected to move to work on other new shows.

And he quotes a BBC spokesperson, as saying: “We are currently in the midst of a raft of arts programming from BBC Scotland, which recently included profiles of graphic artist Frank Quitely, photographer Albert Watson, and review of Stanley Spencer’s work on the Clyde shipyards by artist Lachlan Goudie, with further programming to come on the work of Oscar Marzaroli, and Scottish film-makers John Grierson and Norman McLaren as well as specials on the Glasgow School of Art and the Kelpies sculptures.

“The recent BBC-wide arts announcement included a major new series on the history of Scottish art, as well as other ventures involving Scottish Opera and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.”

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FAR-reaching implications for the radio industry are being predicted following an employment tribunal yesterday ruled that two former presenters at Radio Clyde ought to have been considered employees, not freelance.

Begins Martin Williams, in The Herald: “Former Radio Clyde overnight show presenters, Adrian Coll and Kevin Cameron – whose shows were broadcast throughout Scotland – won what was described as a groundbreaking case three years after their dismissal by the station’s owners, Bauer.”

The DJs’ solicitor, Marie Macdonald of Miller Samuel, is quoted, as saying: “The majority of presenters working in the UK radio industry are treated as self-employed freelancers and, until this decision, were viewed by station owners as having no employment rights.”

Both Williams and Stephen Lepitak, in The Drum media and marketing magazine (here), say Bauer might appeal the decision.

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