AlLMOST without exception, the ‘In our opinion’ feature on allmediascotland will be about the big media issues of the day; and those past few days, there have been some juicy stories to get one’s teeth into.
There were the quarterly radio listening figures, which looked particularly hard on BBC Radio Scotland, prompting a leader in The Times fearing specifically for its news flagship, Good Morning Scotland.
Then, there was joyful tale of the staff at the West Highland Free Press taking over the ownership of their paper, to make it the UK’s only employee-owned newspaper. It was doubly heartening to learn that the paper’s editor, Ian McCormack, has been in post for over 30 years.
And then there was a report into Glasgow’s digital media quarter, already home to lots of media organisations, including BBC Scotland and STV. Among its conclusions, it needs to get bigger and knit more closely with the city centre.
One of the longest-serving public relations managers, Alan Bonas, now formerly of BT Scotland, began his retirement with a party on Thursday evening.
Lots of stories, meriting lots of opinion. Except, as it has transpired, barely a single word written shared on the site from Scotland’s media community.
Might it be that, when the site launched last weekend, the comments facility had a couple of glitches? It’s now fixed. Or that, initially, people’s first and second names were to appear alongside their comment? Now no longer: it’s whatever they call themselves as an username.
When the comments section was taken down from the previous site, it was because there was complete anonymity and that occasionally resulted in offensiveness. Now, there is the filter of moderation. In Our Opinion, that should not be a deterrent.
Of course, people might fear commenting via their work computer, in case somehow their employers find out. That’s understandable.
As understandable is that anyone fortunate to still be working in the media is so under the cosh, in the wake of recent redundancies, they neither have the time nor the energy to raise a comment.
Maybe there is an assumption that allmediascotland.com is so big an operation that it can source its own user-generated content. Er, no. Still one person plus the support of many friends of the site.
But even if it had lots of staff sourcing an endless stream of news and comment it could never match the industry for diversity and depth of knowledge.
Soon, there will be a Forum, as part of ongoing development, where it will be possible to spark debate. The Forum on the previous version of the site for the most part lay dormant.
So, here’s an opinion. These are challenging times in the media, some sections in particular. We need to all be talking to each other.