My Media: Lindsay Clydesdale, media and comms manager (Scotland), Save the Children

LINDSAY Clydesdale is Save the Children’s media and communications manager for Scotland.

Save the Children works in 120 countries, saving lives, fighting for children’s rights and responding to humanitarian crises. In Scotland, the charity works to improve the lives of children living in poverty. Lindsay works on both Scottish and international issues.

What are your media habits?

I have BBC Breakfast on while I’m getting ready for work and occasionally switch over to Good Morning Britain to see what their take on the top stories are. On my way to the office I’ll check my work emails including our media coverage and run through the front pages of the papers.

During the day I have several news websites open while I’m working, as well as Twitter, and I’ll have a proper look through the papers with a cuppa.

Outside of work, I’m very ‘old school’ and prefer a book to TV but I do like the occasional documentary and drama.

Depending on the guests, I’ll tune in to Scotland Tonight or Scotland 2014. I watch the paper reviews on the BBC news channel most nights and I try and catch Question Time every week though it’s not the most relaxing viewing before bed.

Now and again I get Vanity Fair or Vogue if I’ve got a long journey ahead and I get The Big Issue most weeks from George, a vendor near our Edinburgh office.

Any particular favourite journalists and why?

We’ve got many outstanding journalists in Scotland and a strong group of columnists with distinct voices.

I regularly read Ian Bell and Iain Macwhirter, Annie Brown, Claire Black and David Pratt. It’s interesting to watch how the Scottish political lobby are covering the independence referendum and, with less than three months until September 18 and no definitive polling so far, we should have some cracking coverage coming up.

The stakes don’t get much higher, whatever side of the debate you’re on.

I’m also a fan of investigative journalists, Mark Daly and Billy Briggs; both have broken some great stories over the years and continue to bring big issues into the public domain.

I also like The Guardian’s Deborah Orr and the BBC’s Jim Muir, Jeremy Bowen and Lyse Doucet, Channel 4’s Alex Thomson and Lindsey Hilsum.

To what extent has media become an increasing or decreasing part of your professional life?

I’ve always worked in the media since leaving university. I started as a journalist at a local newspaper, doing court and council reporting for the East Lothian Courier, then a couple of years at Newsflash press agency writing for various national papers and magazines, before joining the Daily Record in 2002 where I was a feature writer, columnist and women’s editor.

Since leaving the Record in 2011, I spent two years as a media officer with Oxfam before taking up my current post.

While I’m not immersed in the newsroom culture anymore, a lot of my work regularly involves speaking to journalists and photographers and I’m good friends with many of the people that I’ve worked with over the years.

To what extent is New Media (websites, social networking etc) part of your media world?

A substantial amount of breaking news happens on Twitter now and I tend to use it like news wires.

On Twitter, I follow mostly news organisations and journalists – Scottish, UK and international – as well as Save the Children field staff, international agencies and other NGOs. We have a Scottish Save the Children Twitter feed (@SaveChildrenSCO) and Scotland Save the Children Facebook page and use these to update our supporters on our work. For personal use, I also use Facebook, mostly for family and friends, and LinkedIn for media contacts and networking.

Last Summer, I worked in Jordan and Lebanon – covering the Syria crisis for Oxfam International – and New Media really was my link to everything and everyone – from staying in touch with people back home, to finding out Andy Murray had won Wimbledon, to contacting a whole new range of journalists, both in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

How would you rate the media understanding, and coverage, of your sector?

Scotland is a very outward-looking country and has a generous attitude towards those in need of help.

Scots give more to charity than any other part of the UK and I think that concern for others and a sense of empathy and awareness is reflected in the way the Scottish media covers humanitarian issues.

Even during the recession, when tragedy strikes we’ve had incredible responses both in terms of media support and public donations; for example, with Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last November.

From its beginnings as a charity almost a century ago, Save the Children has also always worked on domestic poverty and we’ll continue to work to give children here a voice so that they have the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential.

I don’t believe there’s a choice to be made between helping children abroad or children in Scotland – every child has the same right to a safe childhood and a fair start in life.

If you were an editor (newspaper, television, etc. state which) for a day, what would you do?

If I was a newspaper editor, then, for a start, I’d hire more journalists and photographers.

Clearly, I’d also need to be a lottery winner for the day as it’s an expensive business, running any media outlet.

I’ve a great deal of sympathy for people in newsrooms across the country, trying to cover everything on ever tighter deadlines, in multiplying numbers of media formats, with fewer and fewer staff.

I’d like journalists to have the time and space to dig out more exclusives, do proper ‘backgrounders’ for big reads and follow up on more of the big stories they break.

The fast pace of the industry leaves little time for this and, of course, journalism can be very expensive but it’s the USP of any great paper that people will always read good writers with great stories to tell.