As Youngsters Switch To Online News, Should Scotland Give Them More Paper?

Lesson #1: If you’re going to write an article advocating free newspapers, don’t put it behind a pay wall…

Scottish Labour’s culture spokesperson Pauline McNeill uses a guest piece in today’s Scotsman to say Scotland should follow France in giving 18-year-olds a free annual newspaper subscription: “We need to act because the newspaper industry is facing the biggest crisis in its history.”

The irony – to read McNeill’s piece, you need to have paid’s £29.95-a-year annual subscription. Or read’s own free story summary, which says Labour would rather let the papers be happy with the increased advertising circulation than pay the £9.3 million it estimates the delivery will cost. Via

France introduced the free sub 12 months ago, per our report at the time. The Scottish government tells The Scotsman it’s held talks about the current industry media malaise, but it isn’t yet committing to McNeill’s idea.

The Scotsman’s own circulation has fallen from 75,402 to 46,300 in the last eight years, and the Daily Record is down from 626,646 to 323,051 in the same period.

Some might say there’s something Canute-ish about the proposal – perhaps the next generation of 18-year-olds are more likely to be re-induced to read news on the screen than on paper?