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A new standard: The review

By The Drum | Administrator

March 10, 2005 | 5 min read

The news Standard

Editorial Content

Kenny Kemp, former business editor at The Sunday Herald, freelancer and author

On a broad scan of its first offering, the new Scottish Standard isn't a bad wee newspaper. Although Gwen Stefani’s Scottish secret – she quite likes Peebles and Penicuik was hardly Help Ma Boab! The paper is tidy and tightly edited. It has tried very hard to make a big impression and I expect its real identity will emerge over the coming weeks. I enjoyed Number One.

I have one deep concern. I know it’s a national paper but I fear its tone might degenerate into a rabid rant about all things anti-English. I’m married to Kentish lassie wi’ a Scotch mither and there are enough bigots who don’t like her Garden of England accent. We all have to live together in Scotland and I don’t think there is any room for a paper if it preaches anti-Englishness sentiment. So beware.

I’m also worried about Allan Burnett’ s set-piece polemic of the world. He is scholarly but does he live in the real world of the 21st century? I’m not sure.

“A better Scottish society can only be realised if Scotland takes control of its own economy and society by becoming independent.” How does he know this?

There’s little in his argument about modern wealth creation and enterprise here and now in Scotland. History lessons are fine, but the reality is different. He should ask the Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life and other major businesses who have their markets in the UK and beyond. That’s the reality in Scotland, not Jacobite economists.

Nevertheless, this is a lively publication and probably long overdue in terms of a coherent nationalist voice. Will it last and will they all fall out though?

The question is whether it becomes a must-read. A few decent exclusives – that display some compassion and merit – will help. I’ll be giving it a few more weeks before I make a full judgement. I know only too well it’s unfair to judge on first impressions. I worked on the first Sunday Herald!

Kenny Kemp was the original Business Editor of the last new Scottish newspaper to be launched, The Sunday Herald. He is now writing a book about Airbus and Boeing.

Design

Kenny Allan, creative director, Third Eye Design

I had certain reservations about what to expect from the design and layout of the new Scottish Standard.

However there is evidence of a professional and confident approach to the design, which will appeal to a certain readership. It will have a shelf presence of a more serious read than the lower-end tabloids, but could alienate and limit its readership by it’s forceful strap line “Scotland’s Only Pro-Independence Newspaper.” This, in conjunction with the use of yellow on the front page gives bias towards a certain political publication. This is a bad choice of both words and colou, when combined, which could influence readership - there are more subtle and convincing ways to gain the trust of a wider audience.

However as a new publication the front cover works well in terms of design and layout and communicates well. The contents strip at the bottom is useful as a guide, a feature that very few other tabloids include.

The 12 column grid is my preferred choice as it allows flexibility for articles and supporting imagery. However I would like to have seen a more consistent and consolidated use of article titles. Instead of having so many varying sizes and styles it could be improved with a more restricted and consistent use. This would help the reader identify easily and quickly as to what style of article to expect. It identifies the main articles as opposed to mainstream news, helping to emphasis a stronger grid structure.

Overall the publication is very text heavy and it could have been improved by a stronger use of imagery. In terms of design and layout it sets its stall as a safe, unadventurous publication, lacking the conviction of other, higher-end publications that have embraced good typographical solutions.

Advertising Content

Caroline McGrath, managing director, The Media Shop

It is 8.20 on Wednesday 9 March and I find myself searching the newspaper stands in WH Smith at Queen St station; the Scottish Standard is nowhere to be seen. On enquiring, I find a pile placed at the side of the till. Rule one when launching a newspaper must be to place the newspaper in a prominent position within the newsstands. I found a similar situation in RS McColl’s in Queen St where the paper had been placed under the children’s magazines and alongside Raceform. RS McColl’s had sold all seven copies – five to The Media Shop as I subsequently found out when I arrived at the office.

The paper certainly does what it says on the tin and all the headlines in the front half leave you in no doubt what the paper is – the voice of Scottish independence. There is particular irony in the fact that only two of the pages have the heading Politics.

If there are 30-50,000 folk in Scotland prepared to buy the paper then it does represent a viable advertising opportunity for Scottish clients. However, the paper does need to quickly prove that it is delivering a unique audience to Scottish advertisers and in significant numbers.

Conspiracy theorists at The Media Shop have suggested that the paper is pre-election propaganda for the SNP and that it will disappear after the election. Time will tell...

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