Monday, 13 June 2011

Trinity Mirror.

There has long been concern in Wales about the quality and balance of the written media with only two national papers, the Western Mail and the Wales on Sunday, both owned by Trinity Mirror. Neither do we have in Wales, Welsh editions of the London newspapers since the demise of the Welsh Mirror some years ago.

We in Wales look to Scotland with envy to what could be in terms of quality media with two quality broadsheets in the form of the Scotsman and the Herald as well as the popular Daily Record (with 300,000 sales) and its sister paper the Sunday Mail, together with Scottish editions of the Sun (Scotland's most popular). We see the press in Scotland as having been hugely influential in developing and challenging Scotland's mature democracy.

But all is not well with Scotland's newspapers with the announcement by Trinity Mirror of massive journalistic job losses at the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail.

This has been met by outrage by Labour and SNP MSP's with yesterday's Sunday Herald publishing two pages of comments by nine media experts asking whether the cuts would, "harm the health of the nation itself" This was followed by an excellent editorial, "Troubled Scottish press presents a problem for us all."
Fewer Scottish titles mean a narrower range of voices, a narrower range of opinions and debate, a less effective watchdog and less concentration on Scottish stories, Scottish politics and Scottish culture

It will be interesting to see what actions the Scottish Government will take in respect of this crisis and whether we in Wales will learn any lessons in our attempt to create a more diverse media in Wales or at least one that is not dominated by Trinity Mirror and its in-built bias.


Jac o' the North said...

The media in Wales is becoming a worry. Not just Trinity Mirror, but also the quality our local dailies and weeklies. Then there's the uncertain future of S4C and the threat to BBC Wales' output. Add to that the non-appearance of the Welsh language daily and it adds up to a gloomy picture.

And yet it was all predicted to be so different. For devolution was supposed to usher in a new era of greater interest in all things Welsh, in the running of the country, etc. Yet circulation figures for the Western Mail have dropped steadily since 1997.

Which is why we've always looked enviously to Scotland and it's printed media. Not just the dailies from Glasgow and Edinburgh; even the regional morning papers in Dundee and Aberdeen outsell the WM.

Which is why this Trinity Mirror cutback seems so odd, at a time when Scottish politics is so interesting and Scotland could be on the verge of monumental change, partly due to having a vibrant national media that makes Scots focus on Scottish issues . . .

. . . or does that explain these cutbacks? Is this an attempt to start giving the Scots what we are so used to - 'the mushroom treatment'?

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Jac - Even smaller places than Dundee and Aberdeen have thriving weeklies, take two towns north of Glasgow only a few miles away from each other, Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs have thriving weeklies.

Jac o' the North said...

The Courier in Dundee is a morning regional daily with a circulation of some 80,000. The Press and Journal is a morning regional daily in Aberdeen with a circulation of some 75,000.

Both cities also have daily evening papers.

There are also morning dailies in Greenock (15,000) and Paisley (8,000)

These are incredible circulation figures when we remember that they have to compete with both the Scottish national dailies - Herald, Scotsman, Record - plus the Scottish editions of the London dailies.

On Sunday, Scots have a choice of four Scottish papers plus six Scottish editions of London papers.

A very sad reflection on the Welsh media. But it gives a clue as to why so many Scottish journalists and presenters make it onto the UK stage.

By comparison, the Western Mail sells about 30,000 daily, the Daily Post about 32,000 and our biggest selling daily, the Evening Post (Swansea) only 42,000.

Confused Welshman said...

One of Plaid Cymru's aims in the last Assembly Government was the establishment of a Welsh language daily newspaper, Y Byd. For various reasons, it wasn't deemed viable.
Surely, the Welsh government would be better to continue to support existing Welsh newspapers (both regional and 'national') through advertising and any other available means. They should also put effort into creating/supporting a new national newspaper that would be predominately in English (with Welsh elements.) This could complement the Daily Post and Western Mail.
This would be a much more viable venture than a Welsh language daily paper.
Furthermore, in the Wales of the future, Plaid need to separate the Welsh language from nationalistic aims. The language is something that is cherished and valued by the majority of the people of Wales (even if they don't speak Welsh.)
The image of Welsh being a foundational issue of the Nats makes many people turn to the London parties.
An increasingly strong Welsh paper based media would with the ever more important and influential internet Welsh news pages and bloggers help to define a unique and evolving Wales!

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

The Herald in Scptland supports the SNP, the Record and the Mail support Labour, not sure where the language comes into this. A lot of Welsh speakers support Plaid Cymru because they know in their hearts of hearts that it will do more for the language than the other London based parties, but PC draw their support from across the linguistic spectrum.

Confused Welshman said...

Plaid Gwersyllt, -you say you are not sure where language comes into it but when you look at it, the two are interconnected. Plaid's ill fated plan for a Welsh language daily showed this.
The building up of the Welsh media is essential for political scrutiny and cultural growth and diversity.
Personally, I would like to see a new broadsheet Welsh paper launched (which would require significant Welsh Governemnt support at the start.)
I would also like to see S4C being developed further. Keeping it's Welsh language remit (which it does very well) plus also seeing the launch of a second S4C channel purely in English. The creation of a independent English language channel in Wales alongside its Welsh language big sister, could more easily happen by many programmes being made in both Welsh and English.
In order to catch up with Scotland on the road to independence, we need to engage the whole of Wales (regardless of the language they speak) and the most effective way is through the popular media.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Y Byd wasn't a Plaid initiative. I tend to agree that a daily English-language paper for all Wales is more important than its Welsh-language equivalent at the moment. I still don't believe Y Byd had the right business plan or support to make it viable and fear that a flop or lame duck would have set the Welsh-language media back a decade.
An English S4C channel - as was once planned by BBC Wales on BBC2W - is also important but given that broadcasting is not devolved I can't see that happening for a while.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Confused Welshman I don't disagree with any of your points.

Confused Welshman said...

Plaid Gwersyllt-none of my points! I'm gutted! Surely we must share some common ground??

Confused Welshman said...

I've just re-read your post Plaid Gwersyllt. Intially I read it that you disagreed with all my points! My ability to read and my understanding is poor - there's devolved education at work for you!
As we are in agreement, please join me for a united dance round the television mast in Summerhill!

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Confused - Feel free to meet up any time and join Plaid Cymru!! The reason I didn't go into detail with my response and just agreed with you was because Marc had covered the language point with the Byd.