THANK goodness for The Budget. Not for its content, per se, but for pushing off the upper echelons of the news agenda the story about one person saying something about another.
We are, of course, talking about Scottish MEP, David Coburn, ‘sparking an outcry’ over comments made about Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government Minister for Europe and External Affairs.
This is not to belittle the upset that might have been experienced by Mr Yousaf. The aforementioned outcry is wholly justified. It should be condemned.
But as I clearly mark myself as being completely out of touch with the zeitgeist, how journalism works, it seemed remarkable that the story commanded such attention, including several minutes on our TV news bulletins.
During a week when Scotland’s poverty figures are truly shocking, a story that, from my limited perspective, appears to have received less media coverage.
If there is anything that the Coburn story tells us, it is how journalists might occasionally be careful about the low-hanging fruit that’s out there; exercise a degree of discretion that, just because it is easy to report, doesn’t mean it has to be, especially at the exclusion of competing editorial options.
For instance, better to report what politicians are doing rather than what they are saying.
For instance, better to look beyond court reports and calls in to the police, which risks presenting a distorted picture of the Scotland we actually live in.
If much of the Scottish media is a barometer, we live in horrible towns full of horrible people (and the occasional 11 year-old receiving a history prize at their local school).
That’s just not true. Or maybe it is.
Mike Wilson is a co-director of allmediascotland.com.