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Scottish press could die out in five years – editors

Two former editors from Scottish daily newspapers have painted a bleak outlook for the future of the country’s press – claiming the industry will be dead in five years.

Former editor Stewart Kirkpatrick and former Herald technology editor Iain S Bruce both predict a swift demise for their former employers.

Quoted on the Desktop Hack blog, Mr Kirkpatrick said: “The Herald and the Scotsman are both going the same way in trimming down their news teams as they try to be more cost effective.

“But this is just a knee-jerk reaction and does nothing to address the real problems.

“If they don’t change their business models and find ways to make money out of their online offerings fast, they will both be gone in five years.”

Mr Bruce added: “Heavy job losses only serve to create weaker newspapers, as they eradicate their vital resource.

“Fewer people working at a newspaper makes for a weaker publication and this means even lower circulation.

“If they continue to scale back in this way, the quality Scottish Press will soon cease to exist.”

Both The Scotsman, and its two sister titles, and the Glasgow Herald and Times Group have suffered in the recent economic downturn.

It emerged earlier this month that Johnston Press could be merging its production departments while in Glasgow 250 editorial staff are having to apply for 210 jobs at The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald.


John (23/12/2008 09:58:37)
Bloody hell, does the bad news ever end?! I feel like I’ve wasted the last two years of my life even bothering with this industry. This crunch has been the kick up the backsided all of us deluded reporters needed because we, wrongly, believed we could make a difference. The reality is those of us who survive the cull will face a lifetime of low pay and rubbish holidays and rented flats. We’re doomed if we stay, so don’t.

Stephen (23/12/2008 20:14:12)
I’m 3/4 of the way through my pre-entry course and I certainly feel cheated by the fact that no-one appears to have seen this coming within the industry.

Newshound (23/12/2008 20:40:56)
Five years? They think it will take that long to see the end of these newspapers? Let’s try a little experiment. Take last Friday’s edition of any UK newspaper, get a red pen and cross out everything that has come from a press release and then see what real news is left to entertain the readers.
Memo to self…. buy more red pens.

John (23/12/2008 22:58:50)
Stephen, just forget local papers mate. Go straight to PR or use the communication and media skills you have gained to crossover into something more profitable. I’m a senior reporter and I’m having a ‘mare so god knows what trainees can expect. Just look at the amount of trainee jobs on this site…there’s one in northampton, that’s it!! And people will be piling into that in their droves, the fools.

John (20/01/2009 13:19:41)
I’ve been in local press for fifteen years and many people have seen this coming for most of that time; that a ‘perfect storm’ (ugh) of economic conditions has hit and hit hard has only hastened what was already happening; that editorial departments – many of whose staffers have buried their heads in the sand, been reluctant to accept the Web as a medium and point-blank refused to write copy for it – are now suffering particularly badly for years of protectionism should come as no surprise although, clearly, it has. I’ll be surprised and extremely relieved if my application for a couple of weeks off during the summer doesn’t turn out to have been an exercise in futility.
Look at it this way, Stephen, at least you’ve found out in good time – while you’ve still time to choose a different career path.