PLANS to produce a standalone sports newspaper for Scotland have come up well short of hitting a crowdfunding target that would have allowed for the production of pilot, proof-of-concept issue.
Hoping there might be between 8,000 to 10,000 people willing to back a newspaper that promised adding anticipation to upcoming events across the whole of the sporting spectrum, in the end all that was raised was 20 per cent of the hoped-for £50,000 to cover start-up costs.
Among the many propositions that failed to resonate with prospective backers was the inevitable consequence (of how the paper would have been structured) of improved gender balance.
The editorial ethos was to dispense with match reports, and even news, and concentrate on what’s ahead on the sporting calendar. With all sports at all levels being judged by the strength of their essential stories, it would have meant no guarantees of coverage but everyone a contender.
Had the project reached the pilot stage, the next target would have been enough people willing to have the paper pop through their letterbox on a weekly basis – backed by access to a digital version. For about £2 per copy.
Had that been achieved, it would have seen increased opportunities for freelance journalists and new talent, managed by a small team of production journalists.
The project was spearheaded by Mike Wilson, managing director of the media website, allmediascotland.com.
He said: “People who pledged knew their backing did not give them any control over the editorial policy. But we received some great ‘founding patron’ pledges from sports governing bodies – well, at least a good handful of them – as well as others. And I think they will have been inspired by our commitment to giving everyone a ‘fair crack of the whip’.
“We are immensely grateful to our backers, who collectively pitched up for a hundred or so pounds short of £10,000. They are all heroes and heroines, in our eyes.
“However, only a tiny minority of organisations that charge admission were willing to financially back us even though a stated aim of the project was to inspire people to attend events. And the thousands of folk we hoped would be up for pledging a fiver – just to give the project a try – simply did not materialise.
“Lots was learned by the exercise and it was enjoyable in many ways. I still believe that print brings a degree of gravitas to content, although there would have been also a digital version of the paper. Some new friends have been made, and there’s been some interesting conversations.”
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