MY work as freelance angling correspondent for The Herald, has come to an end. The company which owns The Herald, Newsquest – a subsidiary of the US giant Gannett group – has introduced a new standard contract for freelances.

In it they sought publishing rights to my work in all their print and multimedia titles and for third party deals with libraries and major online databases among others. My problem was that I did not feel the rates they were prepared to pay for these rights quite matched up.

Revenues from sales of information continue to change and newspapers today accrue a much greater proportion of income from repurposed content than ever before. Digital publishing has made this highly cost-effective. Just how effective, I fully understand. I was The Herald’s digital media editor immediately prior to my retirement.

Newsquest’s terms were far too unfairly balanced in the favour of the company, rather than the creator of the content, I believed.

I declined to sign the contract and have ceased all further contributions.

It is sad. I have been associated with The Herald for 29 years in various forms from reporting to senior editorial management. But the newspaper today is not what it was when I joined in terms of scope of content, authority or respect.

Its readers, like those of many UK and US titles, are evaporating and I have grave doubts about its future as Scotland’s best-selling quality daily newspaper and as a stand alone title.

My writing will now appear, generally first here, and from time to time in other newspapers and magazines who feel it is of value.

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