From Peter Wilson:
I understand your unhappiness at the decline of SoS but the paper is a victim not of the coming of digital media nor of underinvestment but of an editorial direction over the past few years that has been frankly shocking and not in any way concurrent with the sentiments of its natural market in Scotland.
Take yesterday’s front page headline: not only a non-story undeserving of the prominence given to it, but one beyond laughable in its lack of content and balance.
I was a regular purchaser from its inception but, like so many other readers, gave up buying the paper during the referendum campaign since it had stopped offering content of any substance or indeed fact and had become another rabid mouthpiece of the status quo. Sadly this has continued to be the case and I shudder to see its headline on the newsstand each week.
A newspaper that doesn’t understand its natural market doesn’t really deserve to exist and I for one will not miss it when it’s gone. ———-
From Alan Selkirk:
As a former employee of TSPL i find this story heart-breaking. What Johnston press have done to these once great titles is shameful.
From Alan Crerar:
The launch of the Scotland on Sunday was a breath of fresh air in Scotland and I read it avidly for its comment, columnists and editorial – it was the only newspaper I bought and it helped form opinions by reasoned debate and a support for Scotland wherever necessary and without bias.
Why can this not even approach a description of the newspaper now? We don’t need sycophancy but balanced opposition to Scotland’s dominant and growing political ethos would probably have been acceptable if not exactly welcomed with open arms, but at what point, do you think, that trying and succeeding to out-Daily Mail the Daily Mail with rabid anti-SNP rhetoric which managed only to be anti-Scottish in tone became a good editorial tenet if not a sound business decision?
The circulation figures tell their own sad story of the success of this strategy. So farewell old friend, sad to have lost you but you were lost so long ago. I barely knew you were still with us. If your sad demise is of any value at all, it is as a warning to your rival in the west which seems inexplicably to be heading in the same direction.
From Adam Elder:
The writing was on the wall for both SoS and the Scotsman when Andrew Neil was brought in to oversee the titles. They both lost their unique qualities almost immediately.
Almost the only reason that circulation increased sharply was that cover prices were slashed. The attempts to compete with the London titles (and massive budgets) on their own terms rather than talk to the readers who enjoyed the uniqueness of both titles was never going to work.
Each time the circulation shot up because of a cover price cut it quickly went back down when the new readers discovered that the titles had nothing to differentiate themselves from the other papers.
Until the arrival of Andrew Neil SoS had grown a strong, loyal readership attracted by a new kind of paper unlike any of the others. That core readership was lost because SoS had become pretty much the same as all the other titles on the newsstands, competing in a circulation fight for the same readers rather than gaining new readers who wanted something different. _______________
From Gordon Cuthbertson:
Sad day for all who are employed there. I read SOS in the beginning Unfortunately SOS and I parted ways during Andrew Neil’s time as standards started to fall and I have never been tempted to return ____________________
From Christian Cooksey:
A sad demise and a shame that Mr McGurk fails to name any of the incredible photographers whose work made the paper what it was. I never buy a paper for the writing but for the photography. Talent like Robert Perry should be celebrated as much as any writer. __________________
From Ailsa Carlisle:
Spoken from the heart John!
From Stephen Fraser:
I’m not sure if the word “enjoyment” would best describe my reactions to reading your illuminating piece on the demise of, to quote many a footballer, the best Sunday newspaper I ever wanted to work for, but I was informed by your content.
I was fortunate enough to have been there, working with you and others during some of the days you’ve discussed here. Looking on from afar in recent years, I had been wondering how long former colleagues like Ian would continue to be able to appear to be successful in putting the paper out with ever diminishing resources, and am saddened to see that its run may soon be truncated.
You’ll know much better than me but I couldn’t recall if the papers were still printed through an in-house operation, or whether or not they’d already been outsourced to a contract print works.
If it’s the former, then surely as part of a seven-day operation, its production costs could be quite low, with any owners able to additionally value its paper costs through the fact they’d already paid for the print works which would otherwise not be running on a Sunday.
Combined with the generation of ready cash of more than £30,000 a week, do these two factors not make Scotland on Sunday a little bit more attractive to the Johnston Group and perhaps could see the paper continue to be produced for some time yet? Or is that wishful thinking?
From Helen Murlis:
What a sad story —all too frequently repeated these days.