Speaking at the Scottish Press Club meeting held yesterday as part of Social Media Week in Glasgow, Stuart Kirkpatrick, editor of the Caledonian Mercury, said that the “online advertising model is broken and does not fund journalism”, suggesting that the secret to quality journalism is asking people to pay for it.
The editor of the online-only Scottish newspaper, which is read by 30,000-40,000 a month, said that to make a decent living out of the product was to have about 500 subscribers, or get ten times the amount of users for online advertising.
He discussed the Scottish Government, saying: “The Scottish Government has the largest advertising budget in Scotland and doesn’t spend enough…on people creating content in Scotland.”
Speaking frankly, Kirkpatrick said about the Caledonian Mercury “it is a commercial disaster…the opposite of what I realise it should be.” However, he pointed out that the problem with going behind a pay wall is that there must be quality in what you do, and the product should be a must read.
MP Tom Harris also spoke at the Scottish Press Club meeting, where he discussed blogging and tweeting while in government.
An avid tweeter, Harris said that the best thing that government could do for new media is stay out of its way, mentioning the uproar from politicians to ban social media when it was announced that it was playing a part in the riots. Harris said: “Banning social media fro that is like banning the internet for having porn on it.”
He also joked about the dangers of tweeting and blogging as a politician, where one wrong tweet can end up as front page news: “If you’re going to write something on Twitter, before you press send read it over and put yourself in the mind of the editor of the Daily Mail. If he wouldn’t be interested in it, press send.”
The next meeting of the Scottish Press Club will be on 27 October.