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Sunday newspaper editor hits out at ‘detestable’ social media

Neil MackayA Sunday newspaper editor has criticised social media, saying he finds it “detestable”.

Neil Mackay, who edits the Glasgow-based Sunday Herald, described the online platforms as “everything that is wrong with the world” in an interview marking 18 years since the paper was founded.

Neil, pictured left, made the comments in a piece for hyperlocal website Glasgowist.

During his interview, he was asked about whether he found social media a useful way to communicate with readers.

Neil responded: “No. I find social media detestable. Of course I use it because I have to use it, not just for this job, but I write books and I make films and I do radio.

“I’ve got an intellectual product to sell. I don’t like that word product, but it is. It’s something I’ve created. I’ve made it. I want people to read it and enjoy it.

“Social media is everything that is wrong with the world, and I wish we could turn it off. I think it is de-intellectualised us. I think it has robbed us of introspection, which is the most important thing a human being can have.

“The best ideas I get are when I’m staring out a train window. Who stares out train windows anymore? They’re just swiping and swiping.”

To back up his point, Neil cited a Sunday Herald front page after the Paris terror attacks with a ‘France at War’ headline, which was a direct quote from French president Francois Hollande.

As a result of publishing the headline, Neil said the Herald received a wave of messages on Twitter claiming that it was advocating war.

The 18th anniversary edition of the Herald will be printed next weekend, themed around the number 18 – showcasing 18 of its front pages, charting 18 years that changed Scotland, looking back on what life was like in February 1999 when it launched and looking at the phenomenon of what being 18 means.

On the anniversary, Neil told HTFP: “My overarching feeling is one of great pleasure – when we launched, people said we wouldn’t last a month. Now we are officially grown up. Like all journalists, I love to prove people wrong.”


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  • February 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Would the bosses in their ivory towers who have used all things internet as an excuse to slash newspaper staffing and cripple this once-wonderful industry please take note.

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  • February 20, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Neil is bang on the money here – whilst at the same time acknowledging that social media’s (evil) genie is well and truly out of the bottle and can never, ever be put back.
    If we really are all riding to hell in a handcart then social media is fuelling our headlong descent…
    I have tried to mount a half-hearted defence on its behalf in the past, but striving to make out such a case gets harder and harder with each passing day…
    Great concept but widely abused by so many…

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  • February 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Too often social media is a cesspit of bile and crudity filled by misfits enjoying their time in the sun. But then there’s always the 150th picture of what my baby did today and how much I love my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, lover, wife dog, cat, own face on social media etc to make the world OK again.

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  • February 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Let’s not confuse platform with content. Saying “social media is detestable” is like saying “the telephone is detestable”.

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