Media Broth: One spoonful at a time

DRIVERLESS cars, cameras in contact lenses, houses built from 3-D printers. It was a brave, new (terrifying, to some) world painted, confidently, by the well-kent Craig McGill, digital strategist with PR agency, Weber Shandwick.

But he was on much less surer ground when talking about ‘intelligent fridges’. With a furtive glance, he looked at fellow panellist, STV’s Shaun Milne, the pair both on the bill at a conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday, about digital media.

The conference, ‘The Media in Scotland: What does the digital future look like?’, was being hosted by The Scotsman newspaper, and McGill and Milne were one of several speakers, including Jeff Moriarty, who is expected to do great things at the publishers of The Scotsman, Johnston Press (where he is chief digital and product officer), and who spoke with great authority from his days at The Boston Globe, in the USA.

Anyway, back to the fridge. McGill looked towards Milne, the latter perhaps able to help, on account of him being an ‘Edinburgh boy’. Do you keep red wine in a fridge?, McGill was perplexed, because if you do, an intelligent fridge might warn you that you need to replenish your stocks.

Of course, Milne should have said: “Perhaps a Beaujolais”.

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STAYING with the conference, host, Sheena McDonald, was, as you might expect, the epitome of professionalism. She didn’t put a foot wrong. Well, almost. Right at the end – when anyone would have begun to tire – she introduced Graeme Bryce, from Bauer Media, owner of several Scots commercial radio stations. Except, it wasn’t Bryce, but Brauer, which, admittedly, has a nice ring to it.

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AMONG the galaxy of speakers at the conference, one was sadly absent. Host, Sheena McDonald, explained that BBC Scotland’s estimable business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser, had had to cancel at the last moment.

Which, even more sadly, saw BBC Scotland’s presence at the conference – judging by the delegates list handed out at the start of preceedings – reduced to, er, zero.

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ARGUABLY the word of the day at the conference? Take a bow, Joyce McMillan, the much-loved theatre critic and newspaper columnist. When asked, along with her fellow panellists, to describe, in an adjective, what the future might hold for the Scottish media, she replied, ‘Cuspal’.

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TWO tales from The Bottom Line diary column in The Herald…

From last week: “Baroness Margaret Ford took great delight in banging the gavel to open STV’s annual general meeting. ‘I’ve always wanted to do that,’ she confessed.

“There were further laughs from the floor as Baroness Ford, who has been with STV since June last year, formally introduced the company’s finance director. ‘This is George and I’m sorry but I’ve completely forgotten your second name.’

“Mr Watt, who has been on the board since 2001, was among those smiling.”

And from yesterday: “The Bottom Line was tickled by a recent pitch from a PR consultant to interview a company of funeral directors.

“Referring to the current vibrancy of the market in Scotland, the PR said the funeral business was currently marked by its ‘stiff competition’.”

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ASKS the website, WingsOverScotland: “Can we please buy the Telegraph a new picture to depict ‘Scottish people?”

As it illustrates, here.

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AND finally, it’s not usually the case, when the winners at the Scottish Press Awards are asked to say a few words on receiving their accolades. Well, not beyond the main prizes, such as Journalist of the Year or Lifetime Achievement.

So, when awards host, Tam Cowan, sprung the idea, from the awards stage, in Glasgow last week, the reactions were nothing, if not spontaneous.

Such as The Scotsman’s rugby correspondent, David Ferguson, saying thanks (for Innovation of the Year), but he’s just left the paper, to set up on his own. And his colleague, Aidan Smith, also saying thanks (for Arts/Entertainment Journalist of the Year), but he’s now doing sport.

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