Scottish Media Viewpoint

MediaGuardian 100: Let’s all move to London
August 4, 2009, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Just read Stephen Maxwell’s blog discussing the lack of Scots in this year’s MediaGuardian 100 – only 2 have made the list and neither are currently in Scotland.  Maxwell suggests that the “weakened state” of  the Scottish media is the source of the problem, and rightly points out there has been a drastic reduction of readership in several national newspapers over the last few years.  This however, is not a problem that is limited to Scotland, and is also somewhat beside the point.

Quite frankly, it’s not remotely surprising that all the movers and shakers in the British media are in London – of course they are, we’d be naïve and unreasonable to expect anything else.  What is an issue is how few of these people have come from Scotland.  Why is Scottish talent not penetrating the illustrious London circle?

Do you have to start a career in London to progress to the top there?  Nobody seems to move across the border after establishing themselves.  Perhaps those running shop in London assume that our career experience in Scotland in limited due to the teeny tiny size of our national media.  Are they right?  Is that fair?  I worry that there may be an element of truth in this accusation.  You wouldn’t let someone run Cadbury’s just because they can turn a profit at the local sweet shop.

So, if this is the case, what does it mean for those of us still anxiously trying to climb the ladder?  Should we abandon ship and move now?  No matter how one performs in the Scottish media, is it ever going to be good enough?  I honestly don’t know, and it makes me nervous.

Stephen Maxwell’s original blog is available at


MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival
August 2, 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

MGEITF kicks off on Friday 28th August and jumps straight into the big issue of the year… for a whole hour.  To Pay or Not to Pay will be chaired by Nicky Campbell (no, I don’t understand why either) with confirmed panellists Jana Bennett (Director, BBC Vision), Peter Fincham (Director of Television, ITV), Kevin Lygo (Director of Television Channel 4), Graham Stuart (Company Director, So Television) and Ed Vaizey (Shadow Minister for Culture).

Presumably Vaizey is in the mix because somebody has to argue that Jonathan Ross just isn’t worth taxpayer’s money.  Ironically, Vaizey believes [or believed] that a £671 table and a £544 armchair for his private residence were worth taxpayers money.  Apparently they were from OKA.  Swanky.  Let’s hope that comes up.

Obviously, one is obliged to mention the MacTaggart.  Last year it was Peter Fincham, who had an irritatingly polite dig at Ofcom.  This year, it’s James Murdoch, which is disappointing for myself and the countless others who misread the programme and thought Rupert Murdoch was going to face the flying fruit at the McEwan Hall.  Oh well, I’m sure JM will be fascinating…

A slightly more exciting addition to this year’s programme is the Top Gear Masterclass, billed to reveal “all you need to know […] and more.”  Bet they don’t let on who The Stig is.  Nevertheless, Clarkson uncensored is likely to be a laugh.  Get there early.

Less publicised but highly recommended is Sunday’s Meet The Controller, featuring Matthew Littleford (UKTV).  Littleford is probably the single most enthusiastic person working in the industry today, and his passion for television will provide a refreshing reminder not to complain too much, after all, you could be working in investment banking.

Distinctly unmissable for all the wrong reasons is of course, The Channel of the Year Awards. Last year an embarrassingly over enthusiastic representative of The Apprentice, made an all too sincere thank you speech in the absence of Alan Sugar. Michael McIntyre came close to wetting himself on stage. I laughed until I cried. The poor woman was clueless. Nobody cared, and that’s what made it great.

MGEITF runs from 28th-30th August.  Apparently you can still register as a delegate.