BBC doc boosts digital subscribers for Newsquest’s titles in Scotland

Behind Local News
Sep 23 · 3 min read

Newsquest’s digital subscriptions have enjoyed a big boost after BBC One Scotland broadcast The Papers, a two-part series on The Herald, The National and Evening Times.

The National editor Callum Baird

Shot and produced by the award-winning filmmaker Sarah Howitt, the cameras followed editors, reporters and photographers as they battled to cover the biggest story of our generation: Brexit.

As well as showcasing the juggling demands of keeping up with the rolling news agenda in both print and online, the fly-on-the-wall documentary had in-depth interviews with staff and editors of each title as they battle to succeed in a fiercely competitive market.

The successful launches of the Herald on Sunday and the Sunday National, as well as the digital transformation of the newsroom are captured on screen — and following the first episode there has been a boost to subscriptions.

The Scottish titles have secured more than 200 new subscribers since last Wednesday (September 18) when the first episode aired, and this number is growing every day.

Most people have also chosen NOT to take the free trial — instead choosing to pay for the titles’ journalism and another, similar boost is expected when the second episode airs this Wednesday (September 25) on BBC Scotland too.

Herald & Times editor Donald Martin

Editor-in-Chief Donald Martin said: “Myself, members of my team and colleagues across the business have all had messages of support from friends, peers and readers who say they were blown away by the dedication, professionalism and sheer hard work it takes to maintain such high journalistic standards seven days a week in print and online.

“It was a huge risk for us — as a brand — to open our doors in such a transparent way. But in an age of fake news and political upheaval where trust has never been more important, I am delighted that we have been able to engage with readers in a way that gives them a unique insight into the world of digital natives and inky fingers.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been in touch — and all those who have chosen to back quality journalism in Scotland through this flood of new subscriptions — I hope others will join them after the next episode airs.”

Callum Baird, Editor of The National, said: “After viewers of The Papers saw The National’s newsroom in action for the first time, they’ve been signing up in droves to back our journalism. Reaction to the programme has been overwhelmingly positive — Scots have clearly recognised the importance of paying for quality journalism. We’d like to thank everybody who has been in touch with messages of support.”

You can see the first episode here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0008mzh/the-papers-series-1-1-off-stone

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