Your Noon Briefing: CommonSpace, the Bash Street Kids, etc

A NEWS and opinion website has been launched by the Scots think tank, Common Weal.

With four journalists, a graphic designer and an editor, CommonSpace is among several media initiatives to have been inspired by the debate last year around the issue of Scots independence.

Funded by CommonWeal – and therefore currently carrying no advertising – the site both originates and aggregates content.

Says editor, Angela Haggerty, a former media and broadcast reporter at The Drum media and marketing magazine: “One of the great things about indyref in Scotland was the life it breathed into the media, the ‘new media’ in particular, where people took it upon themselves to set up news and opinion websites to fill what they believed was a gap in the current mainstream coverage.

“The appetite for it was clear – sites like Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotland and Wings Over Scotland crowdfunded to keep their operations going, and the public responded in six-figure numbers.

“However, one thing that was missing was a straight rolling news website. That’s where the idea for CommonSpace came in, and it has become very innovative.

“As well as producing original news content, we will aggregate the best opinion and broadcast content from around the web relevant to our readers, and we have built CommonSpace as a social network.

“Another key aspect of what we want to do is collaboration. We want to work positively alongside our counterparts in the new media rather than in competition with them.

“CommonSpace is a big step forward for digital media in Scotland, and it’s an area where we really have lacked innovation compared to other parts of the UK.”

Among the site’s several aims is to clearly badge the source of content, including from media releases and other media outlets.

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BEGINS The Guardian: “Sales of The National have fallen below 20,000 as the novelty of Scotland’s first pro-independence daily newspaper appears to be on the wane.

“The title, whose masthead banner runs ‘The newspaper that supports an independent Scotland’, launched on Monday 24 November to huge interest, selling out its initial 60,000 print run.

“But daily sales of the 50p print edition are understood to have dropped to about 15,000, with another 2,500 to 3,000 digital subscribers paying £1.50 per week.

“'[The National] went into a seasonal lull in terms of circulations,’ said Tim Blott, regional managing director at Newsquest, parent company of the paper’s publisher, Herald & Times Group. ‘Sales [have] dropped below 20,000 but we are still well ahead of my original expectations of the paper. The model still works and it is still making money.’”

Read more, here.

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THE advert placed in the Sunday Herald newspaper by Celtic supporters continues to prompt reaction, including – widely quoted in today’s newspapers – from the Celtic legend, Kenny Dalglish.

And among the reports, this from The Drum media and marketing magazine: “The controversial ad is estimated to have cost around £1,600 to take out and was only accepted after the publisher received the all clear from both Police Scotland and the Advertising Standards Authority.”

Read more, here.

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SAYS today’s Herald newspaper, the corporate comms agency, Edinburgh and London-based Charlotte Street Partners, has taken on Robert Ballantyne as an associate partner.

The Herald notes his CV includes head of corporate comms at brewers, Scottish & Newcastle.

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DREW Allan, in today’s Herald, considers what decade might have been the ‘golden age’ of situation comedy.


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MARTYN McLaughlin, in today’s Scotsman, begins, about The Beano comic characters, the Bash Street Kids: “They are unlikely advocates for a public health campaign. One of their number is notorious for his voraciously unhealthy appetite, while one classmate is, in the words of his creators, about ‘as bright as a power cut in a coalmine at midnight’.

“But today, some of Scotland’s best known pupils will set out to show they are a class above when it comes to healthy eating.

“The Bash Street Kids, the unruly pupils who have entertained generations of young readers, are to spearhead a campaign designed to encourage children to ditch junk food for healthy treats and take regular exercise.”

Read more, here.

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SEEN anything you think readers of should be made aware of? Then just send the weblink to here and we’ll do the rest. All suggestions gratefully received. We’re back at noon tomorrow.