What is the future of The National in Scotland?

First published on Kettle Mag website on 01/06/15 (available here)

 

If you don’t live in Scotland then you might not have heard of the newspaper The National, and if you live in Scotland and haven’t heard of it, where have you been?

The National launched its first issue on the 24th November last year and supports an independent Scotland.  It was initially created due to the large increase in sales of the sister paper, The Sunday Herald, which experienced a huge rise in readership after announcing that it was supporting the Yes campaign during the independence referendum.

A different attitude

It could be easily seen that there was a gap in the market for a new paper for those who supported and hoped to see an independent Scotland and perhaps did not agree with the way that the Yes campaign and its supporters were portrayed by other media outlets. If you followed the independence referendum in Scotland then you’ll know that there was a lot of negativity towards Yes supporters. Now I’m not saying that they were all perfectly behaved but most media outlets did not pick up on any No supporters acting in a negative fashion or highlight anything good being done by the Yes campaigners.

The first issue sold out of the 60,000 copies that were printed and the second issue saw an increase in the number printed. The paper which used to run Monday to Friday has recently announced that it will now have a Saturday issue after the success of their post-election edition.  The reason for the success of the post-election edition could be due to the achievement of the SNP who managed to win 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, most of which were previously held by Labour.

This was a massive political shift in Scotland and many of those who had voted No in the referendum had now voted SNP.

A bright future ahead

It was recently suggested that the sales of the newspaper had dropped below 20,000 in January this year, although it was claimed that this was just a seasonal lull in sales and that the paper was performing better than had been expected. Both The National and The Sunday Herald are edited by Richard Walker, who believes the paper has a strong future, which I think may be true as it appears that many people in Scotland want a change in politics and the way the media reports on politics.

Although the paper supports independence it claims to be politically independent from the SNP, and stated when it originally launched that it would be critical of the party when necessary but also give praise when it was earned. Politics is not what the whole paper is made up of and it has regular news and always has a beautiful picture spread over two pages, which if you like to read a paper on your morning commute I think helps to brighten up your early morning start. The National is always filled with interesting and relevant news articles about current events in Scotland.

I think that any newspaper which can have a successful launch and create a solid base readership in a time where printed media sales tend to be falling is doing extremely well. There will definitely be a future for The National, I’m sure, but I think it may be a while before they see the independent Scotland they seek.

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