Alex Bell Remembers…Part Four

The name is allmediascotland, but that is a lie. When Mike Wilson and I started, we knew we had a bias towards print and broadcast journalism. We wanted something bigger, some kind of silly idea we'd connect advertising, film and TV production too into one inclusive whole. Lord knows the struggle to bring these professions together.

The site grew out of the dining club, McMedia, which aimed to connect media people in the company of a good meal and an interesting speaker. We continued these dates with some top guests but I would never overcome the surprIse how hard it was, sometimes, to sell tickets for them – especially the Scottish ones. Why didn't media folk want to hear from industry experts?

One answer lay in the endless round of corporate dos. A respected hack gets invited to numerous dinners. This may reduce the enthusiasm for events with a cost – fair enough. That didn't explain how an industry which Scottish Enterprise estimated to employ 20,000 people could only produce a few dining companions. Why didn't Scotland media people want to meet each other?

That's the end of the paragraphs with the question marks. McMedia was a success in that we had top guests and good crowds but never enough to merit the effort. We stopped it a few years ago. The sadness was that we couldn't generate the kind of community event which sustains, in club form, the hotspots of our industry. Is it that we weren't big enough or just that Scots didn't care enough?

Damn; there's another question. I don't know the answer but I regret the implication. It remains a struggle to connect film to TV to advertising to journalism yet so many of us operate within and across these disciplines.

We used to wine and dine people from all areas of the media but progress towards a sense of common purpose was agonisingly slow.

When I sold up on allmediascotland I was delighted. We had created good thing but too often it felt like banging your head against a hard screen. I never solved how a satellite industry in Scotland, struggling within the close embrace of a larger media planet in London, didn't co-operate to launch a more serious assault.

Alex Bell is a co-founder of His book, Peak Water, is out this September. His Edinburgh Fringe show, Water Wars, is free at 1300 at The Schop, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh from August 10-14 and 17-21.

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