Kidnapped coffins, dark humour and city crime drama make Kevin Scott’s Dead Cat Bounce a winner

Dead Cat Bounce by Kevin Scott

What’s the story: 24 hours before the funeral of their little brother, Matt and Peter have to start to work together to pay a gangster £20,000 to have the body and coffin returned in time for the service – and without their hysterical mother finding out.

You’ll like it if you like: Orphans, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Matt Bendoris’ crime novels, Chris Brookmyre, 24 (the good seasons). Continue reading

Bad journalism didn’t kill newspapers – and it wasn’t the internet either…

Newspaper advertising revenue chart

Newspaper advertising revenue isn’t what it was – but who is to blame? Not journalism in my opinion


Even today, when we see tales of woe around traditional journalism, and in particular newspapers, you see the journalists being blamed for writing crap stories or not bringing in enough scoops or editors being too timid and to be honest, it’s gotten a little tedious.

You want to look to where newspapers started to die (not that many of them aren’t still profitable, just less profitable than before), go blame the advertising departments. Continue reading

Why I’m voting yes in the #indyref

There are a lot of eloquent posts from people about why they are voting Yes and No in the #indyref. This isn’t one of them. It’s a lot more rambling and shambolic.

I see a lot of reasons for voting Yes (though a part of me hopes for a draw). My main reason for voting Yes though is because Scotland and the UK aren’t the same thing and what works in Westminster doesn’t necessarily work in Wester Hailes. Continue reading

Is Scotland rubbish at PR?

Simple enough question eh? The reason I ask is that All Media Scotland is talking about PR Week‘s PR Week Powerbook (yup, you can read the whole thing online) – ‘the definitive guide to the most influential people in PR’ – and according to AMS, there’s only a handful or two of Scots in the 300 strong list.

According to the article:

Of the Scots entries, seven are actively practising in Scotland. They are: Alex BarrBIG Partnership, Glasgow; Barbara ClarkVisitScotland; Neil GibsonBIG Partnership, Glasgow; Carol MatthewsMatthews Marketing, Glasgow; Julie McGarvey3×1, Glasgow; Nora SeniorWeber Shandwick; and Beverley TrickerTricker PR, Aberdeen.

The others are mainly London-based: Mike MurphyTrimedia, Gordon Beattie – Beattie Communications, Andrew BrownEDF Energy, and Alan TwiggSeventy-Seven PR.

(one thing that stuck out for me – how few of those main Scottish PR sites have anything even remotely resembling social media/web2.0 – even basic things like blogs or twitter details).

Now the tone of the AMS piece suggests that there should be more in there. So let’s have a look at the figures

  • The CIPR has more than 780 members drawn from public relations consultancies, public sector organisations and PRs working for private sector companies in Scotland.
  • It is estimated that around 4000 people are employed in the public relations industry in Scotland and that the industry turns over around £450 million per year.
  • Scotland’s population is around 5 million, compared to 61million in the UK

So there’s 11 Scots out of 300 in the list, Scotland’s population is roughly 8% of the UK total. By that terribly simplistic set of sums and some assumption making, there should be around 24 or 25 Scots.

So what gives?

In all honesty, I don’t know – but can’t wait to sit down and have a full read to see what it says – but one simple explanation may be that people had to be nominated and the vast majority of PRs were just too busy to get round to nominating themselves, spending their time on clients instead (that’s not to imply that the people above don’t spend time on clients – far from it. They all have fantastic track records).

It will also be interesting to watch this over the coming year as digital media moves more to the fore and how that affects things.

But is Scotland rotten at PR and is Willy from the Simpsons the best person from Scotland at shouting from the rooftops (yup, that is what you calla tenuous link)? I don’t think so, but what do others think?

Scottish Digital Matters

Normally, a new section to the Blogroll would matter not a jot, but this is something I’m growing more and more frustrated (and concerned) about and it’s a bit unfair to leave it all to Iain Bruce to take care of.

Scottish Digital Matters is going to be used to highlight Scottish companies who are grasping the new media and using it well because quite frankly there are too damn few of them doing it. I’m shocked at the number of business people who think the likes of Facebook, blogs and Twitter are just for fun and don’t have any business use – or the companies who don’t want to be engaging with their customers, which is fine to an extent because it isn’t for everyone.

But it’s for some and at the moment very few are grasping the opportunities. I mean, let’s look at it this way, if Dell and Wal-Mart can set up blogs for customer interaction, why can’t Scottish companies? Of course it would help if the majority of Scottish media was online as well, but that’s another symptom – or is a cause – of the country’s digital malaise.

Why does this matter past that of geekery? Quite obvious from a number of viewpoints: Scottish businesses are losing out on an incredible number of potential revenue-generating schemes by not being online; Scots are not getting to see the potential of online – for pleasure or business; Scots are not being able to exercise their digital skills and having to leave the country to do so; Scots are not being as informed about the world as a democracy should be.

So if none of that matters to you, fine, go stick your head in the sand, but to me having fun, generating revenue, increasing knowledge, enriching the population (hell, enriching the world) – physically and digitally – and being more informed are generally good reasons to be around in the early days of the 21st Century.

Or we can just let other countries overtake us in these areas and then moan about it, despite having had the chance to do it ourselves. Perhaps that will be Scotland’s digital legacy. Couldabeen, shouldabeen…

Herald to be gone in six years – but to live online

As has been well reported in the UK and Scottish media, 40 more jobs are to go at The Herald newspaper in Glasgow (technically, it claims to be a Scottish paper but the vast majority of staff are based in Glasgow and for many it’s still a West Coast paper).

Now morale is as you would expect, hellishly low (and it wasn’t exactly high to start with) but the staff at all the titles still keep pushing to get the best papers they can out and a number of people are wondering if now is the time to take the two-weeks-for-every-year option on offer. But there may be big changes ahead – and sadly more redundancies. But it will mean that The Herald can live on.

I’ve spoken to a number of people inside Newsquest who believe that there is a plan for within six years for one of the three main Scottish Newsquest titles to no longer be available in print but be a web-only publication. 

Could The Herald live on? It would be a brave move, but in an age where we already have unlimited data tariffs for phones and PDAs and mobile broadband is becoming even more ubiquitous.

One sad thing is for sure though – it won’t be produced with as many staff as it is today.

Unless there’s a massive upswing in Scottish companies embracing the internet and advertising styles, the money just simply won’t be there – unless we see a return to the Press Barons of old who weren’t always concerned with news being a profitable business. 

And why should this matter to those in PR? Quite obvious. If The Herald does go fully online – and it’s done properly (something I have my doubts about given the current state of Scottish news on the internet), any company that thinks just throwing out a press release and nothing else will get it the hits is going to be sadly mistaken.