Category Archives: Journalism and Literature

“Can Journalism Survive the Death of Newspapers?” – Roy Greenslade lecture at the University of Edinburgh

Photo Above: Roy Greenslade © Sinn Féin on Flickr

By Charlotte Hulme and Aisling Press

Roy Greenslade, former Editor of The Mirror, delivered a lecture at the University of Edinburgh last night, during which he predicted the end of print media.

Continue reading “Can Journalism Survive the Death of Newspapers?” – Roy Greenslade lecture at the University of Edinburgh

Study on Scotland’s most expensive streets is misleading

By Yaz Duncan

A recent study by the Bank of Scotland naming Northumberland Street as the most expensive in Scotland may be misleading according to local estate agents.

The study conducted by the bank named Northumberland Street in Edinburgh’s New Town as the most expensive street to buy property, with average house prices hovering around the £1.3million mark.

However, the study has faced criticism from estate agents who say that the statistic is not accurate because more expensive houses have been sold in the surrounding streets.

Peter Lyle, Director of Edinburgh Residential at Savills said: ‘We have sold a property in Northumberland Street for £1.7m, a little bit more actually. That is the most expensive this year.

‘Properties in the surrounding area have sold for more than £1.7m in streets like Heriot Row and Royal Circus. A whole townhouse there will be more expensive than in Northumberland Street.

‘The study is comparing apples and pears and is simply taking an average of what has been recently sold. If you look at some streets in St Andrews houses are selling for three or four million. It is an odd statistic.’

Despite the alleged inaccuracy of the study, Northumberland Street properties are still selling for higher than average prices and the New Town continues to be a desirable area.

Peter Lyle added: ‘Northumberland Street is in the heart of the New Town, walking distance from Princes Street and close to nice parks. It ticks the boxes for people wanting to live in the city centre.’

In response to suggestions by estate agents that the study is misleading Nitesh Patel, economist at the Bank of Scotland said: ‘We took the period from 2010-2015 and there had to a be a minimum of seven transactions over this period.

‘Northumberland Street meets that criteria with an average house price of over £1.3m. There is always research being done on expensive streets. We make clear that it has to be a minimum of seven transactions in five years.

‘We get data from the Registrar of Scotland. I don’t know what estate agents have  said but there will be one or two streets with more expensive sales but they would not meet our criteria.’

The average UK house price in 2015 was £197,000 but the number of homes in Scotland sold for more than £1m has more than doubled over the last 12 months. The capital boasts 13 of the 20 most expensive streets, Aberdeen have four and Glasgow have two.

 

Journalist Ian Bell dies aged 59

By Nicholas Mairs

Scottish writer and journalist Ian Bell has died at the age of 59.

The Sunday Herald columnist was previously Scottish editor of The Observer, and also worked for The Herald, The Scotsman and the Daily Record.

Bell started his career as a sub-editor and then a lead writer, where he was recognised as a voice for the pro-independence side during the 2014 referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘This is devastating news. Ian Bell was one of Scotland’s finest writers and a man of deep intellect and principle.’

Scottish media personalities paid tribute to the Edinburgh-born writer following the news.

His former Sunday Herald colleague and fellow columnist Ian McWhirter tweeted: ‘Loss of my colleague Ian Bell leaves an aching void in Scottish journalism. He set the standard we all tried to equal, but never could’.

The Herald writer Hugh MacDonald said: ‘His character can be accurately gauged by the tone and humanity of his columns. But it was a joy to read him, it was a blessing to know him. He was a great writer and a good man.’

Bell was also recognised as a biographer, having written on Robert Louis Stevenson and Bob Dylan.

He was a multi-award winner, winning the Columnist of the Year award on several occasions. He was also the recipient of the George Orwell Prize for Journalism in 1997.

Glasgow broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli honoured Bell’s accolades. He said: ‘The Scottish Columnist of the Year was affectionately known as the Ian Bell Prize, he won it that often…’

He is survived by his wife Mandy and son Sean.

Sean Bell, in a statement issued on behalf of the family, said: “Our family has lost a husband, a father and a son and Scotland has lost its finest journalist. He set a standard none shall ever reach again yet he inspired us to never stop trying.

‘We ask that our privacy is respected at this difficult time.’

The Sunday Herald has vowed to pay a ‘fulsome tribute’ to their former writer in this weekend’s edition.

 

Creative Scotland defends using National Lottery proceeds to fund arts

By Philip Askew

Creative Scotland, the public body that subsides arts across the country, has defended the use of money raised through the National Lottery, calling it an “ideal” method of funding.

The academic Robert Hewison recently slammed government austerity measures as “anti-culture”, leading to a decline of interest and funding in art across the UK.

He specifically criticized increasing reliance on the National Lottery as a “funder of first and last resort”, saying it was “dangerous to run the country’s culture on a game of chance”.

Recent government statistics have shown that the number of adults engaging with the arts even once a year has increased by only 0.5 percent since 2005.

But Ian Stevenson, Creative Scotland’s director of finance, said Mr Hewison’s comments reveal “a lack of understanding of basic maths”.

He said: “The lottery is a game of chance as far as people buying a ticket are concerned, but it is very dependable as a source of income. It goes up in weeks with a large jackpot then returns to a steady base level in other weeks. Which means that the money raised for good causes, and therefore the money available for the arts, is in fact steady.

“Why can’t the arts be run on Lottery proceeds? It’s the ideal way to fund the arts – no one is forced to pay for them, and everyone who buys a ticket pays a little towards them.”

Creative Scotland inherited the role of the Scottish Arts Council in 2010.

Its stated objectives are to “promote an understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the arts and culture” and to “support and develop talent and excellence” across Scotland.

In October the organisation revealed it was suffering from a “funding crisis” due to being vastly over-subscribed, but has since assured applicants that money will be available to “most if not all” subscribers.

Other sponsors of Creative Scotland include the arts charities Made in Scotland and the National Youth Arts Fund.

‘Beauty by Design’ – A collaboration between past and present

This weekend saw the opening of a new exhibition, ‘Beauty by Design’, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

A collaboration between  designers, curators, and art historians, it aims to highlights parrallels between portrayals of fashion in Renaissance art and contemporary fashion trends.

The works range from modern reenactments of famous portraits to lace dresses stylised according to traditional ideals of beauty and fashion.

The exhibition began as academic research by the Edinburgh College of Art’s “All Walks Beyond the Catwalk” Diversity Network, which examines the effect of modern fashion on models and workers in the industry, with a focus on “developing a more responsible, diverse and emotionally considerate response to fashion design and fashion design communication.”

Exhibits include works by Mal Burkinshaw, Sally-Ann Provan and Philip Clarke from the ECA.

Christopher Baker, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, commented: “This terrific project illustrates how historic portraiture can be a profound source of inspiration to contemporary practitioners in the world of fashion. It is also especially pleasing as a rich collaborative endeavour, which has brought together designers, art historians and curators.

“Our hope is that many visitors will enjoy plotting the connections between the Gallery’s collection and these wonderfully imaginative responses to it.”

Supporters of the exhibition include the ECA, the lace manufactuer Sophie Hallette, and the arts funding agency New Media Scotland.

Chris Sachs, a spokesperson for New Media Scotland, praised the project as pushing artistic boundries. “We’ve usually been interested in projects that look at the relationship between technology and art. But it’s great how [‘Beauty by Design’] challenged contemporary trends in fashion…. It definitely caught our eye.”

‘Beauty by Design’ will be running at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery until May 3rd 2015. Admission is free.

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Police deny overreaction in rooftop manhunt

By Philip Askew and Mariana Mercado

 

Police in Edinburgh have defended their response to last Saturday’s manhunt through the city centre, where more than 50 riot officers cordoned off part of Cockburn Steet.

Authorities were pursuing two alleged motorcycle thieves through Edinburgh’s Old Town aided by riot police, sniffer dogs and helicopters in what was described as a “mini war-zone” by Twitter users.

Amid accusations of overreacting, Superintendent Angus MacInnes has defended the heavy handed response, saying that they were “simply about ensuring safe and coordinated apprehension of the suspects” due to the “height and potential danger” involved.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland has emphasised that there were no firearms involved in the incident, saying it was “never a shooting” and that reports to the contrary were just “social media doing its thing”.

The two suspects ran away from police on patrol in Tron Square at 8pm when the chase started, according to a statement from the police. One man was detained and a stolen motorcycle was recovered nearby.

Riot police were brought out when an emergency call placed the second alleged perpetrator on the roof one of the buildings in Cockburn street.

Police are still searching for the other suspect, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

“League games more important than Cup Final” – Pat Fenlon before Dons clash

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon spoke to our sports reporter Joe Birchenall ahead of his sides fixture tonight at Easter Road. Fenlon’s charges face Aberdeen, a side who they have not beaten in the league since May last year. However, Hibs face the Dons on the back of a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final win against Falkirk, which saw them claim a 4 – 3 victory despite finishing the first half three goals down. Fenlon, however, is keen to push on and to focus on remaining league games, saying he is disappointed to have finished outside of the top six.

Fenlon also discusses the breakthrough of youngsters Alex Harris and Danny Handling, his reaction to Neil Lennon’s SFA woes and the imminent departure of Hibs top scorer Leigh Griffiths.