A Scottish Labour politician is urging for Scotland to follow France and give young people a year's free subscription to a newspaper in the hope they turn into long-term readers.
Scottish Labour's culture spokesperson, Pauline McNeill MSP, writing in today's Scotsman, says: "We need to act because the newspaper industry is facing the biggest crisis in its history with almost every day bringing more bad news."
She continues: "I believe we need some positive ideas to protect the role that newspapers play as an essential part of Scotland's democratic, artistic and popular culture.
"In France, President Sarkozy has introduced a package of measures to help the beleaguered press. They include the offer of a free daily newspaper for every 18 year old.
"Less controversial are proposals to put young people into newsrooms to help make editorial content more relevant and introduce a daily newspaper reading period in schools to help create a habit of regular reading.
"The unprecedented emergency facing the Scottish media means we should consider similar proposals here to introduce young people to newspapers, so they become long-term readers."
She adds: "Newspaper groups which take part in the scheme should be asked to provide a commitment that any money provided by the tax payer is ring fenced for apprenticeships, or put towards proper and regular payment of trainee journalists on work placement schemes." Allmediascotland is backing the plan. It says in an opinion piece today: "like a New Year's resolution, the implementation of a proposal such as this by McNeill could be just the fresh start opportunity required to reinforce all that is supposedly good about newspaper journalism." See also: Saving the Press the French Way.
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