By Hamish Mackay in the Scottish Review
Newspaper publisher JPIMedia has undergone a name-change after its owner National World decided its name ‘no longer’ reflects the business or its ambitions. It has been re-branded under the umbrella of National World Publishing Limited.
JPIMedia, which owns The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, the Edinburgh Evening News, the Falkirk Herald and several other Scottish weekly titles, was formed in 2018 to take charge of Johnston Press after the 251-year-old Scottish-born publishing company was briefly placed in administration.
Media industry veteran David Montgomery’s investment vehicle National World bought the group in January 2021 and has since launched several new city news websites, including Glasgow World, as well as the national digital title National World. The major rebranding exercise was announced in a move aimed at giving a ‘clear focus on the company’s position as a national network of well-established newsbrands’.
JPIMedia told Scottish Review: ‘With effect from 29 April 2022, JPIMedia Publishing Limited, along with its regional subsidiaries, will be rebranded under the umbrella of National World Publishing Limited. The company no longer feels that the JPIMedia name reflects the business; its ambitions; or its expanded portfolio across the group and is, instead, reflective of newsbrands to which the company no longer has links.
‘Following its acquisition by National World plc in January 2021, which saw significant restructuring to restore the company to a local and national publishing business, this decision to rebrand brings about a new era for the company, which has endured a lengthy turbulent history.
‘This wholesale rebrand will provide a new and distinct corporate identity – including a new National World website and Connect Local commercial site – along with providing a clear focus on the company’s position as a national network of well-established newsbrands delivered to local communities by talented teams of journalists.’
Congratulations to DC Thomson Media on winning three major categories in the Publisher Podcast Awards 2022. The Dundee-headquartered group won the Best B2B award with Energy Voice Out Loud; took the Best Book and Literature top spot with Author in Your Classroom; and triumphed in the Best Sport Category with The Bunkered. It had also featured on the shortlists of another nine categories.
The Publisher Podcast of the Year award went to The Daily Telegraph when the winners were announced at a ceremony at Proud Cabaret City in London on 27 April. The awards celebrate the podcasting success of publishers and media organisations, whether they have been in the podcasting space for some time or have just launched.
From more than 220 entries and an exceptionally strong shortlist of 124 podcasts, the judges marked them on a range of factors, including production quality; how well the podcast reflected the publisher’s brand; and strategies to grow the audience.
The awards organiser, London-based Media Voices, will be staging the inaugural Publisher Podcast Summit in London in October. It told Scottish Review: ‘This will have sessions designed for publishers at all stages of their podcasting journey, whether they are looking to start their first series or are looking to take their existing podcast/s to the next level. The summit will feature interviews with many of the Publisher Podcast Awards winners, as well as practical workshops and opportunities to share challenges and solutions with fellow publishers’. You can register an interest at: publisherpodcastawards.com/summit
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has published new guidance urging journalists to take care in using social media posts. Media industry website HoldTheFrontPage (HTFP) reports that the issues addressed include warnings about the misleading impression that can be created by the publication of older photographs and social media posts, and the importance of checking timestamps, especially in breaking news situations.
HTFP explains: ‘IPSO also makes clear that significant inaccuracies or misleading statements that appear on the social media channels of newspapers should also be corrected via the same medium’.
The website has earlier reported how the Liverpool Echo had been ordered to publish a correction on Twitter after it failed to amend its inaccurate description of a dead woman as a ‘murder victim’ on the social media site.
HTFP points out: ‘While IPSO found no breach of Code on the tweet at the time it was posted, it ruled the Liverpool Echo’s failure to publish a correction on Twitter after an arrested man was subsequently released without charge had rendered the post significantly inaccurate’.
IPSO’s senior policy and communications officer, Hanno Fenech, says: ‘IPSO recognises that social media is a powerful tool for journalists. It has become a crucial way to gather news, and, increasingly, comments, information and pictures taken from social media are used to illustrate stories or are the focus of stories themselves. However, information on social media can be misleading and difficult to verify. IPSO has produced non-binding guidance for editors and journalists which focuses on Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 6 (Children).
‘The guidance is a framework for thinking through questions about using material from social media and includes examples of relevant case study decisions made by IPSO’s Complaints Committee.’ The IPSO guidance can be read in full here.
The UK Government’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries says she is ‘minded to’ intervene in Newsquest’s takeover of fellow regional publisher Archant due to competition fears. She has written to both companies stating her concerns about the merger and claiming there ‘may be public interest considerations’ that ‘warrant further investigation’.
In a written ministerial statement, Dorries cites section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002 which requires there to be ‘a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers in each market for newspapers’ within the UK. There is only a small amount of geographical overlap between the respective patches of the two publishers whom in March agreed a deal to create the UK’s second largest regional publishing group.
The intervention by the Culture Secretary came only days after HTFP revealed a restructure which will see five senior Archant directors leave the business and the group’s regional units being integrated into those of Newsquest.
In her statement, Dorries said: ‘This relates to concerns I have that there may be public interest considerations – as set out in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002 – that are relevant to the recent acquisition of Archant Media by Newsquest Media and that these concerns warrant further investigation’.
She added: ‘It is important to note that I have not taken a final decision on intervention at this stage. In line with the statutory guidance on media mergers, the minded to letter invites further representations in writing from the parties and gives them until 29 April to respond. If I decide to issue an Intervention Notice, the next stage would be for Ofcom to assess and report to me on the public interest concerns and for the Competition and Markets Authority to assess and report to me on whether a relevant merger situation has been created and any impact this may have on competition’.
An impromptu hunger strike by Dundee FC’s new manager Mark McGhee prompted the city’s Evening Telegraph newspaper to spoof a film series on its front page, parodying dystopian adventure films The Hunger Games, after McGhee revealed he had gone on a diet so as to be ‘hungry all the time’.
McGhee made the revelation in a press conference ahead of Dundee’s crucial match against St Johnstone, with the two teams occupying the bottom two places in the Scottish Premiership. The match finished in a 1-1 draw.
The front-page spoof depicted McGhee as teenage protagonist Katniss Everdeen. The Evening Telegraph’s editor, Dave Lord, told Scottish Review: ‘Football managers will do just about anything to get a competitive edge, but when the Dundee gaffer said he was going on a crash diet to literally make himself hungry before the biggest match of the season, even the crazy world surrounding Scottish football sat up and took notice. It was all very bizarre.
‘Thankfully we have a talented team of designers at the Evening Telegraph so we were able to come up with a very fitting way to tell such a bonkers story. And with Dundee’s very own Hunger Game on the horizon, our front page got plenty of attention – both locally and further afield.’
Newsquest’s managing director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Graham Morrison, is to retire on 30 June. He will be succeeded by David Ward, who will be promoted from his current role as commercial director for Newsquest’s Herald & Times group of titles in Glasgow.
Graham served in a variety of management roles at independent publisher, Romanes Media Group, including as senior director of operations and managing director between 2002 and its purchase by Newsquest in 2015. He then continued as managing director following the takeover.
Newsquest’s chief executive, Henry Faure Walker, said: ‘I would like to acknowledge Graham’s huge contribution to the business – both since joining Newsquest in 2015, but also before that at Romanes Media Group. His strong leadership has been instrumental in the success of the Scottish business and he has developed a highly-effective senior team which augurs well for the future. David, who is currently commercial director of the Herald & Times, brings a wealth of relevant publishing experience and creative expertise, and I look forward to him taking on this new opportunity to lead Scotland’s leading news media business’.
I am deeply grateful to the readers of Scottish Review who have been in touch with me in recent weeks while this column has been absent. I have received many messages of condolence from our readers following the sudden, unexpected and, as yet, unexplained death of my son Gordon. He was just 48. It has been a second most grievous blow for my wife Rene-Ann and I, as 20 years ago we lost Gordon’s brother Graeme. He was just 29. Both were in the prime of their lives. Our sole surviving son Derek works in the energy business and lives with his family in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. The majority of the messages of sympathy were from the UK’s journalistic fraternity both at home and abroad – once again exemplifying how the journalistic profession rally round to lend support to one of its own whom is in mourning for a close family member. Their kindness, caring and empathy will never be forgotten in a very, very sad Mackay household.