SILVER JUBILEE PRESS BALL ATTRACTS RECORD INTEREST
Highlands and Islands Press Ball
- Unprecedented numbers for north of Scotland media event
- Silver Jubilee celebrations at Highlands and Islands Press Ball
- Education Minister attends landmark occasion
With the media under greater scrutiny, circulation figures falling and uncertainty hanging over jobs, you would think there would be little appetite for a celebration.
But this year’s Highlands and Islands Press Ball turned into a record-breaking success, attracting its highest ever attendance on 1 February.
The annual ball, organised for the second year by Inverness-based Lucid PR, Events and Marketing, has now been running in its current format for a quarter of a century since being revived by John Ross, a former Scotsman journalist and now news and media manager with Lucid.
It is the only event that brings together a dispersed media community scattered across an area almost the size of Wales. This year a record 276 journalists and PR managers, and their guests, some hundreds of miles apart, were brought together from Shetland to Argyll and from Moray to the Western Isles for the event.
They were joined by Scottish Government minister Michael Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, as well as MSPs and MPs, civic leaders and heads of local public bodies.
The success of the ball comes despite, of perhaps because of, on-going unrest and expected job losses at the BBC, the anticipated axing of the media department at Northern Constabulary, which will be swallowed up in the new single Scottish police force from April, and a general decline in local newspaper circulation.
Ross, who received a lifetime achievement award at the ball for his 33 years in journalism and for organising the ball for 25 years, said: “Social media and online sources are playing an increasing role in how people access the media, but local and regional newspapers, radio and TV are still a vital part of peoples’ lives, particularly in such a rural and often remote part of the world.
“While media people in the Highlands and Islands can be geographically distant from one another the communities they serve often share the same issues.
“These are testing times for the industry so it was a welcome opportunity to bring people together and highlight our strengths.”
The ball, which was held at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness, incorporated the Highlands and Islands Media Awards which were presented by Michael Russell and are sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Diageo.
The event It will also be raising money for four charities in the area.
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Lucid PR, Events and Marketing