Sudoko bit my finger – free newspapers for 18 year olds in Scotland

There is something rather charming about the discussion/argument that has been going on in Scotland about providing 18 year olds with the newspaper of their choice free of charge for a year. Quite charming. Pauline McNeill is the Labour Spokewomen with the task of discussing the options to keep the Scotch press alive and well – I presume she was naughty in a previous life, not the easiest of tasks. Scotsman article here.

The argument goes something like this….

“Coonsils will no longer be obliged to put their notices into the paper – so revenues for the newspaper publishers will fall. With falling advertising revenues we must find another way to keep them going so lets encourage readership levels. And to encourage readership lets give the young their first “hit” of printed news free for a year.”

Charming argument – isn’t it? But it is, of course, completely bonkers with some obviously flawed logic.

Flaw 1: The yoof of today consumes stuff online from morning till night. Sorry that should have read from mid afternoon till the middle of the night (the sleeping habits of the kids of today are ….. welll…. err….exactly the same as mine were). Giving them a free copy of the Daily Record or Scotsman won’t stop them looking for their mates, a job, music, abusive viral videos, news and the like online. OK our newspapers have suduko (whatever that is) but they don’t do “Charlie Bit My Finger” (older readers can do a Google). 

Flaw 2: and it’s blindingly obvious as well – it’s about the advertising revenue…..it’s being redirected online….get it? So if only newspapers were online……..hang on they are. Hmmm….I sense a solution…. lets give the yoof of today free access to newspapers online.

Maybe the Coonsils could just keep giving the various notices to the newspapers and they could put them in print and online….. nah too easy. Best if we keep discussing things and exploring the difficult options. Or maybe we could just ask the yoof of today what they want. We could find out what they want in a poll…… trouble is it would have to be an online poll….. hmmm….. so that’s not a good idea.

The newspaper and the news industry is going through change – we see it more than most being into web development as we are – What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis documents one possible outcome with utmost clarity. Ironically Pauline McNeill has stumbled across it – give the news away for free – now there really is an argunment worth having.


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