Former Yes Scotland digital chief Stewart Kirkpatrick reviews The National and questions lack of digital presence

By Stewart Kirkpatrick |

November 24, 2014 | 3 min read

A warm welcome to the National. Boy, am I glad to see you!


But not online. The National's digital presence is a static holding page.

Eh? In the argot of internet users, WTF???

In this day and age it's not simply not acceptable to launch without a website. We're in the age of "digital first" not "digital when we get round to it".

As I have already pointed out there's a huge, vibrant pro-indy community waiting online to plug into this new publication. That community's reaction will very much determine whether the National lives or dies. Bizarre, then, to ignore that medium entirely.

As for the paper it needs to establish that it is a serious news source, not a platform for SNP press releases (though the P5 lead is nosed on Angus Robertson criticising Gordon Brown).

Issue one succeeds with a focus on charities and the Smith Commission. It has a lively mix of briefs and longer pieces. It's not stuffed with Scottish politics or opinion columns (ie filler). I really like the picture of the day spread. Hey, that would look great on the webs…Oops.

The front page image is a bit odd, though, a pair of blue eyes staring out of the page. It think it's supposed to represent child poverty but could be a poster for American Gothic. I suspect it's a stock pic. This product may only be around til Friday and I doubt Newsquest are sinking vast resources into it.

On that, the National needs to play to its pro-indy base to make sure we all buy the heck out of it for the next five days, so we have a plethora of pics of Yes stalwarts. Nicola? Check. Elaine C? Check. Carolyn Leckie? Check. Cat Boyd? Check. Martin Compston? Check. It's necessary but a bit much.

All in all, a good start as a print product but, seriously, get the digital element sorted now before a silly omission becomes a grave error.


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