Jane Bradley: Right newspaper but wrong profile

YouGov has profiled the average reader of The Scotsman newspaper. 'PPicture: Jane Barlow
YouGov has profiled the average reader of The Scotsman newspaper. 'PPicture: Jane Barlow
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IF YOU’RE reading this in a real newspaper made of paper, you’re probably a man, aged 40 to 59, living in central Scotland, with centre-right politics and a penchant for Jackie Bird. You’re scoffing a rogan josh curry while watching the rugby on the telly, almost certainly with a dog lying at your feet.

Why? Because you’re a Scotsman reader. And that’s what you do, apparently.

You also like to volunteer your time with a charity or not-for-profit organisation and lodge your cash – you’re likely to be fairly well off, with an extra £500-£999 spare burning a hole in your pocket every month – with Bank of Scotland.

Doesn’t sound familiar? Well don’t blame me.

The source of this great insight into your life is the YouGov profiler, which uses data from the pollster’s surveys of more than 200,000 people to create the typical …well, anything.

Enter your favourite hobby, TV programme or celebrity and you will find out what other likes and dislikes you are likely to have.

And, in my limited trials, I have found it to be scarily accurate.

The toy, which can be credited with probably hundreds of thousands of wasted man hours at UK companies over the past week or so, is the precursor to a more serious, paid for version, which it hopes will be used by large organisations to generate a deep insight into fans of their brand.

In the case of The Scotsman, you like Edinburgh Airport, Irn-Bru and Marks and Spencer – although you do your shopping at Tesco. All those companies could benefit from knowing what other kinds of things you’re into.

However, companies need to be careful to check whether you’re a Scotsman reader – or a Scotsman online reader.

For further investigation uncovered that if you prefer to get your Scottish news online, you have slightly different habits – scotsman.com (this, for the technologically uninitiated, is The Scotsman website), has a whole separate entry on the profiler. You’d probably still get on fairly well with your paper-reading counterpart, but there are definite discrepancies.


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Maybe surprisingly, if you are reading this on scotsman.com, you are likely to be slightly older than your newspaper brethren, slotting into the 60-plus age category.

Your food tastes will also be slightly more conservative – opting for the traditional Scottish bannock over the exotic curry favoured by your real paper-reading counterparts.

Your bank is BoS rival Royal Bank of Scotland and you’re probably a charity worker – in contrast to the newspaper’s high readership of engineers.

You prefer TV archaeologist and historian Neil Oliver to poor Ms Bird and you’re more likely to read What HiFi? than the magazine of choice for the newspaper readers – Scottish Field.

While the profile is obviously a generalisation – YouGov takes its data from its own, limited panel of people who are happy to be questioned and a clever computer crunches the numbers according to their preferences – it is an interesting insight.

Obviously, there are plenty of you who will not fit the stereotype.

A large proportion of you, for starters, are women. Of course, YouGov had to choose one sex over the other and according to their sample, there must be slightly more male readers than female. The profiler has only 164 people on its books who say they are Scotsman readers – and just 67 who are fans of Scotsman.com.

The online readers, however, have a strong interest in bird-watching, photography and going to gigs, while the paper readers are a more home-based bunch, preferring to spend their leisure time sleeping or with their partner – as well as partaking in sports.

However, on a final note, according to the picture which accompanies the profile (I take no responsibility for its accuracy, or resemblance to any reader living or dead), online readers are
 generally a bit taller, have lighter hair and have a slightly more mode-ish dress sense. The dark-haired newspaper reader, in my humble opinion, however, has more of a twinkle in his eye – albeit the same pair of lace-up shoes as Mr Dotcom. I’d definitely prefer to take him out for dinner. No offence, Dotcom-ers.


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