THE HUNT FOR REAL NEWS

117
3019

Ian Goldie

One of the saddest spectacles in Scotland these days is that of the serious intelligent and decent Scot in search of a serious intelligent and decent newspaper.

I am beginning to meet many friends who have abandoned their newspaper of a lifetime and who are roaming around, trying a new paper for a few months, then trying another, then having a rest from any before starting the hunt again.
 

Ian Goldie

One of the saddest spectacles in Scotland these days is that of the serious intelligent and decent Scot in search of a serious intelligent and decent newspaper.

I am beginning to meet many friends who have abandoned their newspaper of a lifetime and who are roaming around, trying a new paper for a few months, then trying another, then having a rest from any before starting the hunt again.
 
I myself had the Herald newspaper that came into my parents’ home and then mine for more than sixty years. Such a habit is not broken easily, but last December I stopped taking the Herald for the first time in my life.
 
Why?  It had nothing whatsoever to do with the major reason normally put forward for falling newspaper circulation – the internet.
 
No, I simply got fed up with the dishonesty and tendentious reporting that the Herald had resorted to.
 
The same thing had happened to the Scotsman.  I had started reading the Edinburgh-based paper in the seventies, when the Scotsman really sparkled.  It was great fun to read and really made you think.
 
After a really serious falling away in the eighties under editor Magnus Linklater I finally gave up on it in the early nineties.  As I say, it takes a long time and something seriously adrift for a reader to leave a newspaper.
 
Since then I have tried to give the Scotsman a chance, buying it once every three months or so, but it has always proved to be pretty pathetic.
 
More recently I thought its editorials showed signs of improvement so I decided to try out a deal for some three months.  The three months are up in September, and alas, I shall not be renewing.  If anything, the reporting has become even worse.  The main political correspondent is a mere cynical political propagandist.  His articles, if they can be classed as journalism at all, are of a very poor standard.
 
Much of the so-called news is a farrago of nonsense. Negativity reigns supreme. Like many others, I have just had enough of starting my day off with such nonsense at breakfast every morning.
 
So where to go now?  I have tried the so-called Scottish Daily Mail and the Scottish Daily Express, neither of which has a Scottish website (now there’s a give-away).  The Mail in particular is a vicious, nasty paper intent on making its readers as angry as possible.  Its favourite headline word seems to be “outrage”.  It’s not that its readers have ever had the time to be outraged about a breaking news story, it’s just that the Mail tells them that outrage is the expected reaction.
 
As for the poor old Daily Record, it’s a long time since it could ever be taken seriously.
 
Last year my search took me to the London Times, which at least was recognisably a newspaper with real rather than invented news.  It’s not bad, and if I lived in England it might be a serious contender.
 
Sadly, I have never really been able to get into the Guardian, although I feel it should be the sort of paper I would be most at home with.
 
No, that honour goes to The Independent, which seems to me to be by far the most intelligent, balanced and decent newspaper in Britain today.  Sadly, its coverage of Scottish news lets it down, so like so many others I shall probably give up on newspapers altogether.
 
Meanwhile, for decent discussion there is Kenneth Roy’s excellent Scottish Review on the internet, and for world coverage the first-rate The Week.
 
It’s beginning to look as if the Scottish newspapers are beyond help, and we’ll just have to wait until they collapse and may be reborn from the awful ashes.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the Scots Independent.

You can visit the Scots Independent here: http://www.scotsindependent.org

Contact the Scots Independent here: 51 Cowane Street, Stirling, FK81JW.