The Glasgow Guardian celebrates its 90th birthday

My congratulations to Glasgow University’s official student newspaper, The Glasgow Guardian, which is celebrating its 90th birthday – marking nine decades of what it calls ‘ambitious, creative and innovative student journalism’.

The student newspaper was founded as the Gilmorehill Globe on 10 October 1932 and became the Glasgow University Guardian in 1959. It settled on its current name in 2011. Its alumni includes former Sunday Times editor and broadcaster, Andrew Neil.

In a Twitter thread, the student publication states: ‘Today, in 2022, The Glasgow Guardian is a multi-award-winning student publication with a thriving team of editors and contributors. In our 90 years of publishing we have broken countless exclusive stories and remained relentlessly committed to representing our student population’.

DCT achieves 25,000 paying digital subscribers

Dundee-based newspaper group DC Thomson Media (DCT) is celebrating after its four daily titles have combined to achieve 25,000 paying digital subscribers. The success story is down to the combined efforts of The Press and Journal (P&J) and Evening Express in Aberdeen, and The Courier and Evening Telegraph in Dundee. DCT launched a digital subscriptions drive last year aimed at achieving 75,000 digital subscriptions by 2025.

Press Gazette reports: ‘According to DC Thomson, the success of a story online isn’t measured by the number of clicks it receives but by a quality reads metric, identifying how much of an article has been read, putting high standards of reporting and engagement at the core of the work’.

P&J editor, Frank O’Donnell, told Press Gazette: ‘25,000 subscribers is a significant milestone on our journey to developing a sustainable digital newsroom. Having only launched in May last year, we are ahead of target and confident that the changes we have made in content, structure, product and audience-focus are delivering results. We must now keep listening to our audiences to deepen our understanding of what readers want from us’.

The Courier’s editor, David Clegg, said: ‘This is an encouraging early success for our strategy of making journalism worth paying for. It is a tribute to the deep connection we have with our communities that so many thousands of people have chosen to support us on this journey. I want to thank our readers for helping us build a sustainable future for The Courier’s quality journalism’.

DC Thomson Media has also offered further insight into how its new model works, explaining: ‘The focus of encouraging audiences to pay for news shifted from solely being tied to digital replicas of the printed products towards true digital-first subscription products – focused on delivering our communities more value from the content that the newsrooms produce. Research shows that subscribers place the most value in up-to-the minute news, available to them at any time of day. Print continues to be a crucial part of the news mix, with more stories, an increased focus on supplements and reader participation’.

Garry Scott is new deputy editor of The Herald

Garry Scott has been promoted from assistant editor to deputy editor of The Herald under its new editor Catherine Salmond. He has worked for the Glasgow-based broadsheet for the past 14 years and has been editing the weekend Herald Magazine and heading up the paper’s opinion and comment pages. He had a spell as acting editor prior to Catherine taking up her new role.

Garry commented: ‘The Herald has long been the home of in-depth journalism in Scotland. As we continue to develop both the newpaper and the website, our values of quality content, analysis, and a distinctive Scottish voice will set us in good stead for the future’.

Catherine Salmond added: ‘Garry is an immensely talented and respected member of our team, bringing a wealth of experience, energy and wit to the title and our newsroom’.

Young journalists could win £1,500 in Orwell annual award

Young journalists could win top prizes of £1,500 in the annual Young Journalist’s Award. The award is a joint venture involving The Orwell Society and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which aims to reward young writers ‘whose work is judged to honour [George] Orwell’s writing both in form and in subject matter’.
The award offers the £1,500 top prizes in two categories: review and column. In addition, the winners will receive free membership of the NUJ. The runners-up in each category will receive a prize of £500 and the winners and runners-up will also receive a three-year free membership of The Orwell Society.
Students in undergraduate or postgraduate studies, or vocational trainees, are eligible to enter as well as currently employed or self-employed UK resident journalists born on or after 1 January 1993. Entrants will be judged by a panel of experts on George Orwell, including his son and Orwell Society patron, Richard Blair.
Chairing the judging panel is Dr Jaron Murphy, principal academic in communication, journalism and literature at Bournemouth University. He told me: ‘In addition to the national recognition of journalistic excellence and a significant boost to CVs, the winners and runners-up can look forward to notably generous monetary and membership prizes amid a cost-of-living crisis that Orwell would surely have written about were he alive today.
‘The award is practice-based, accessible and inclusive for young journalists from all backgrounds – so please encourage entries if you lead a newsroom or training course, or if you happen to personally know a talented young journalist, anywhere in the UK, who might not be aware of this opportunity. As the top entrants in recent years have shown, Orwell’s first-rate writing practice allied to acute social and political awareness continues to fire up aspirations and approaches among the emerging generation of journalists.’
The Orwell Society reminds us: ‘Orwell was one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. Not only was he the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, his oeuvre includes some of the greatest journalism of all time. Famously, he was also a member of the NUJ and the photo of his membership card has been reproduced for publications on his life and works’.
Entries must be submitted by 31 March 2023. For further details, please email Neil Smith at:

Columnist Iain Macwhirter and The Herald part company

Somewhat sadly, The Herald has decided to part company with its formidable political columnist and commentator Iain Macwhirter, pictured above,  following a derogatory tweet about racial diversity among new UK Government ministers by describing a group of them as ‘the coconut cabinet’.

The Herald declared that it was ‘satisfied that there was no racist intent behind the tweet’. However, it said Macwhirter would nonetheless leave The Herald after his final column on Sunday 9 October. It is understood he has left by mutual agreement.

Iain, whom The Herald described as ‘an exceptional long-serving political commentator for The Herald over 22 years’, published his offending post on 7 September.

HoldTheFrontPage (HTFP) reports that Iain fired a parting shot at ‘keyboard warriors’ as he said farewell to The Herald after what he termed as ‘a hell of a ride’.

In his final column, he discussed the Scottish independence debate, saying: ‘Journalism dies the moment it becomes the handmaiden of special interests, whether corporate or political. The Herald continues to subject the Scottish Government to rigorous scrutiny as it should and must over issues like the educational attainment gap, gender reforms, BiFab, and ferry contracts.

What keyboard warriors fail to realise is that drawing a polite veil over the misadventures of the Scottish Government does not assist the cause of Scottish independence. It demeans it’.

Describing the impact of social media as the biggest change in journalism in his years in the industry, Iain added: ‘The world has turned and I must turn with it. Newspapers have had to struggle to survive as internet behemoths robbed them of advertising revenue at the same time as plagiarising their content to steal readers. I am immensely grateful for my years in The Herald community. It’s been a hell of a ride. Thanks to my readers over the years and apologies for any messages that got lost in translation’.

HTFP resumes partnership with Regional Press Awards

HTFP has resumed its partnership with the revamped Regional Press Awards under its new organisers. The awards were revived this year by Haymarket Publishing and the News Media Association (NMA) after the Society of Editors’ 10-year stewardship of the event came to an end.

The presentation ceremony for winners in the 19 categories will be held on 8 March 2023 – the same day as the National Press Awards – at London’s Westminster Park Plaza.

HTFP publisher, Paul Linford, will be a member of the judging panel which is being chaired by Peter Sands, a former editor of The Northern Echo, and Gail Walker, a former editor of the Belfast Telegraph. Said Paul: ‘As the home of regional journalism news and jobs for more than 20 years, showcasing the great work done by regional press journalists has always been a key objective for us and the awards are a great opportunity to do that’.

Should you wish to get in touch with me, please email me at:

Caithness-born Hamish Mackay is now in his 57th year as an occasional/sometimes regular contributor to the UK’s exceedingly diverse media market

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