Wednesday / 24 July / 2019
Journalists’ Charity Summer Reception (Edinburgh)- write up by Georgia Edkins (Reporter, Scottish Mail on Sunday)
JOURNALISTS from across Scotland came together for the Journalists’ Charity summer reception in Edinburgh last week.
Hosted by The Scotsman Hotel – the former offices of The Scotsman newspaper – it was a fitting venue for an event that celebrated the history and future of Scottish journalism.
A panel made up of Frank O’Donnell, editor of The Scotsman, Rebecca Curran, presenter of The Nine on BBC Scotland, Shona Elliott, The Scotsman community reporter and Brian Taylor, political editor of BBC Scotland, discussed everything from social media and fact-checking, to print revenues and PRs.
Chair, former editor of The Scotsman and ex-Scottish editor of The Times, Magnus Linklater – whose old office is now a plush bedroom suite at the hotel – kicked the evening off by asking Shona Elliott why she chose to go into journalism.
The newly-appointed community reporter for The Scotsman offered her optimistic view that despite fears that journalism is not a stable career path, young journalists have more job security working in newspapers than they do in many other professions.
Miss Elliott is one of a group of young reporters selected from across the UK to take part in a Community News Project funded by social media giant, Facebook. Her role allows her to highlight inequalities and under-reported community issues.
Meanwhile Frank O’Donnell, editor of The Scotsman, said the changing media landscape – in part catering to younger audiences – means he spends a huge amount of time ‘pushing’ the digital operation at the paper, with a focus on online stories and video.
He has witnessed the role of the newspaper, both print and online, shift away from breaking the news as it once did.
Instead, news is broken on social media, and journalists must respond by becoming trusted fact-checkers.
Despite new challenges and a digital focus, Mr O’Donnell said 80 per cent of all revenue for the paper is drawn in from its print edition.
Rebecca Curran, presenter of The Nine on BBC Scotland said broadcast journalism had also faced hurdles engaging with younger audiences – namely that many do not own or watch television.
But Miss Curran assured there would always be a need for well-researched and carefully crafted reporting.
She said: ‘With the benefit of time we can get into the issues that matter to people in Scotland.’
Political editor for BBC Scotland Brian Taylor warned of the dangers of sticking to the ‘pack’ too closely – encouraging journalists to keep thinking for themselves.
Questioned about sometimes obstructive press offices and PR teams, Mr Taylor said a good journalist would always find a way to get the story.
Chairman of the Journalists’ Charity Ramsay Smith thanked the panel and spoke of the importance of enrolling more young reporters as charity members.
The evening was rounded off with drinks and canapés provided by The Scotsman Hotel.
It was a chance for friends, former colleagues and emerging reporters to swap stories and share anecdotes into the night.
Our thanks go to The Scotsman Hotel, the panelists, the chair, the Journalists’ Charity chairman and our members.
Thank you also to Jackie Bird for doing the voiceover for our new video, which can be found on the website.
To pledge £1 a week to help journalists please follow this link: