How Social Media is Helping Scotland’s Tourism – Quiet News Day, QND, Episode 6


How Social Media is Helping Scotland’s Tourism – Quiet News Day, QND, Episode 6


Podcast hosts Scott Douglas and Shaun Milne set about their weekly conversation about all that’s happening in the world of PR, journalism and social media.

Episode six sees them talking hamsters, watchdogs, Facebook news aggregation, pay walls, the Scotsman editor John McLellan’s words for the web.

There’s also an interview with Ruth Heath, the woman in charge of VisitScotland’s soon to be launched social media strategy – a must listen for anyone working with in-house PR and media teams



Scott raises the lack of coherent crisis management surrounding the news that Xmas must-have toy the Go Go Hamsters (Zhu Zhu hamsters in the US) are toxic. The claimse were made by US consumer group, the Good Guide.

The toys exceed levels of a toxic chemical called Antimony (akin to cyanide).

The makers – a firm called Cepia LLC – trotted out a statement from CEO Russ Hornsby

While the statement was reported during an Associated Press video it was text only – no audio, video or rich conten – from Cepia LLC.

Meanhwile the Cepia website is Flash-based, with a long intro sequence and no updateable content (no blog, no forum, no Twitter or Facebook links).

Scott says he is astonished such a major American toymaker appears to be so far off they ball and says Cepia appear to have shot themselves in the foot with the lack of a Twitter, Facebook or YouTube presence. Instead, it appears the firm is relying on third party Twitter and Facebook sites, set up by people looking to profit from selling on the toys. While reportering the toxic claims, these do not appear to give any positive support to the toymaker:

However, Scott did eventually find a dedicated site giving a more vigorous response on behalf of the company:

Both Scott and Shaun agreed the CEO of the toy firm was treading a dangerous line in citing his own kids – bringing up the case of Tory Agriculture minister John Gummer, who posed for the media feeding  beefburgers to his six year old daughter, Cordelia at the height of the BSE crisis in 1990


Scott reports that the world’s most popular social networking site has taken steps to protect children.

Facebook has formed a board with five leading online safety groups –  Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, WiredSafety, Childnet International and The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).

Scott and Shaun discuss how Facebook plans to regularly meet with board members to review the existing safety resources it provides its users, develop new materials, and seek advice on general safety best practices on an ongoing basis. The first task of the board will be to oversee an overhaul of the safety content located in Facebook’s Help Center.

The show hosts also discuss previous successes in this area by Facebook – last week the New York Attorney General’s office cited Facebook’s cooperation in identifying and disabling the accounts of registered sex offenders, and in early 2008, Facebook signed an agreement with 49 Attorneys General to help protect children from online predators.


Shaun introduces discussion about fan pages created and managed by leading news agencies all over the world including Associated Press, Press Association, Canadian Press, Agence France-Presse, Duetsche Press, Kyodo News and others.

Three thousand followers, environment related news stories, editorial blogs, mission statement, capacity for upload of images and video.

Shaun and Scott discuss whether this could this be the start of something big – and a genuine threat to newspaper websites themselves?


Shaun opens discussion on the FlipShare TV base – a bit like the Apple TV box – where you can wirelessly watch your entire library on a TV or HDTV.

Shaun and Scott then discuss howNews organizations in the US have been encouraging Flip users to do.

CBC News, for instance, asked viewers to upload their videos commenting on US President Barack Obama’s first 100 days.

Shaun and Scott agree this is so simple, yet so effective. Not only did it provide the TV station with interesting comment from a cross section of people, it did so without them having to do any of the running about of work.

Shaun reports how CBS also secured advertising for it too from Blackberry – and a click through competition allowing users to win a new Flip – so it was immediately monetised.

It also had links driving traffic to other areas of the site for more.


Shaun repots that amid the controversy over whether or not Google is the online equivalent to Dick Turpin, the search giant says it is to limit the amount of free news available to users, re-directing them to pay-walls after a limit is reached.

Shaun then introduces the latest comments from Scotsman editor John McLellan meanwhile suggests that the industry faces what he calls a ‘price point test’ for online news.’Price-Point’-Test-for-Online-News-Urged-by-Scotsman-Editor

But he says regardless of what the first forays into the market by publishers Johnston Press reveal, he makes the crucial observation – “The BBC remains a huge problem in that the funding for their all-powerful website distorts the local market.

Shaun provokes debate by mentioning a blog he postes earlier this year. It cited an interview John McLellan gave to Media Guardian in April where he appeared to welcome the prospect of accepting local news video from the BBC to support its own “solid news coverage”.

At the time the Scotsman editor said: “I’m not convinced that giving everything away on the web serves the interest of the paper best. There still has to be more to a newspaper than just a whole lot of background and analysis.”

He continued: “There’s no point in a newspaper using its journalistic expertise to deliver top scoops and put it on the web at 4pm and give the BBC time to do it and add the bells and whistles, and then get every other newspaper to do it. We’ve to think very carefully about that.”

Shuan and Scott agree these points are of huge interest to everyone in the Scottish media .


Shaun tell s how the New York Times is seeking to improve reader experience on the web is the New York Times which has just introduced what it calls the Times Skimmer.

Shaun says it is interesting as it appears to have been developed in partnership with Blackberry, supporting his belief thta mobile phones could be the saviour of newspapers through mobile news.


Shaun introduces his thoughts on a great new potential addition to the Twitter family, Twitter 360, embracing the latest developments in GeoTagging.

It allows users to pinpoint who and where people are from nearby Tweets. The camera function works as a compass  and overlays the image you can track them down.

Scott chips in this is the latest example of “augmented reality” and says he intents to report on a similar app, called foursquare.