Over at Deadline Press & Picture Agency, up and coming reporter Michael MacLeod has every right to be baffled by the latest lesson dealt out by the media school of knocks.
As if it wasn’t bad enough he had to work on Sunday, he didn’t get a single show in Monday’s papers for his story suggesting Bob Dylan might turn up in Scotland when an exhibition of his art work is launched on Saturday.
Fair play. The story was a bit of a flier (and our newspapers never use fliers, right kids?), with Dylan’s people admitting it was only and outside possibility, though still a possibility.
However, there is another lesson in here – while newspapers can still choose (rightly or wrongly) what they will or won’t publish, they can’t quite dictate the news agenda the way they once did.
Up until very recently, if an agency like Deadline Press & Pictures issued a story and the newspapers turned up their noses at it, then it was dead in the water. It would sit forlornly in the Database being read by precisely no-one.
Now however the story can be put online. And this particular story caugth like wildfire.
What wasn’t good enough for the Scottish dailies was more than good enough for a global online audience – who turned it into one of the most read items on the global WordPress platform, serving millions of ordinary web surfers.
At one point it was among the top 25 WordPress items in the world. As well as racking up thousands of hits, at one point it was attracting views at a rate of five a minute.
So, young Mr MacLeod is left wondering what he has to do to get his story in a Scottish newspaper.
I don’t envy the people making the judgement calls on newsdesks. The playing surface isn’t level any more – indeed, its been dug up, churned through and partially concreted over and turned into a rather scary, free-entry theme park.
Bottom line is though they better start catching on quick. Virtually every title in the country is losing circulation fast and desperately looking for a bigger audience share online, in the hope the web will provide salvation for an industry in turmoil.
Against that backdrop missing out on the thousands of extra hits they could have earned by picking up on the Bob Dylan story has got to hurt.