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Glasgow W


What is life like for journalists in Scotland’s biggest city?


aterproof jackets, bespoke bridalwear, golf, guns and gangland shootings – aside from Alex Salmond and indyref2, these are just some of the subjects you could be covering if you moved to Glasgow. Widely regarded as


the centre of the Scottish media, the city has a longstanding history of strong newspapers and great opportunities for journalists.


One of the largest publishers is the Newsquest-owned Herald & Times Group, owner of The Herald (founded in 1783), the Sunday Herald and the Glasgow Times. It launched TheNational, which supports Scottish independence, in 2014, and its magazine division includes The Scottish Farmer and TGO (The Great Outdoors). The city is home to the Daily Record, the Sunday Mail and Scottish Business Insider (published by Reach). The Sunday Post (DC Thomson) has an office there, as does The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday (JPI Media) – along with Scottish editions of UK nationals including the Scottish Sun, the Scottish Daily Express, Daily Star of Scotland, Scottish Daily Mail and The Times Scotland. Glasgow has also given rise to a number of independent


titles, including crime weekly The Digger, which sees itself as ‘a thorn in the side of the establishment’. The Digger sold 100 copies when it was launched in 2004 and is now the most popular crime magazine in Glasgow. Publisher James Cruickshank says there are opportunities for journalists who want to break big stories, but they can come at a price. Cruickshank had a petrol bomb thrown at his car


outside his home last October and said around 30 shops had been targeted by suspected gangland figures and told to stop selling the magazine or remove it from display.


The NUJ strongly condemned the attacks. Cruickshank moved to Glasgow from New York in 2001 and started The Digger after becoming frustrated by crime coverage in nationals. “I picked a difficult road to go down,” he says. “I wish there


were more independent journalists out there fighting to uncover what people don’t want uncovered. “Look at how many crime reporters there are in Scotland – almost none. The police and the council don’t want independent crime reporters because they’re stepping on their patch. Crime in Glasgow is far worse than people know. I’m still writing about the same gangs 16-17 years on. If all the papers, broadcasters and BBC channels turned their attention to it, these gangs would be gone in six months.” Another Glasgow journalist specialising in crime stories is Norman Silvester, who has worked on newspapers for 40 years. He carried out a recent investigation into the Glasgow brothers behind Scotland’s biggest crime gang, and an exposé on human trafficking. He was named Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year in the 2020 Scottish Press Awards for his investigation into the death of remand prisoner Allan Marshall. Silvester started on the Sunday Post in 1979 and left the


Sunday Mail after 25 years last March to ‘pursue’ freelance journalism. “Glasgow is quite a good city to do crime reporting,”


he says. “Maybe it’s the Glasgow stereotype – like being a crime reporter in Chicago. A lot of the Glasgow operators have a national and international connection, so it’s interesting.” He says there is a huge market for crime stories, alongside the fascination for fiction such as The Sopranos and Line of Duty. “People love real-life crime even more,” he says. At The Herald, health correspondent Helen McArdle


says work has never been busier: “It’s a huge privilege to be in a role like this in the middle of a once in a generation pandemic event. It’s been fascinating.” McArdle started as a trainee reporter on the Sunday Herald


10 | theJournalist


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