Editor leaving

Scotsman to focus on digital as print sales dwindle


Declining print sales are forcing changes

The Scotsman newspaper owner has signalled a shift away from print with a decision to focus on its digital publications.

JPIMedia, which also owns the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, has termed the transition “digital acceleration”. It comes a decade after a similar “digital first” strategy was instigated by previous owner Johnston Press.

An announcement to staff came as it emerged that editor-in-chief Frank O’Donnell is leaving to join Dundee-based DC Thomson in a similar role in May. His departure is not linked to the restructure.

In a joint message to staff, JPIMedia editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford and group HR director Ian Johnston said: “Frank will leave the business on Friday, May 8 and goes with our blessing, sincere thanks and best wishes for his future career.

“We will begin the search for a new editorial director for Scotland immediately.”

Jan-June sales for The Scotsman (source: ABC)

The new structure will embrace other Scottish titles including the Falkirk Herald, Fife Free Press and Southern Reporter.

A team of journalists will compile print editions selected from online articles. The new system, which goes live on 16 March, follows a trial at the group’s titles in England.

This latest attempt at focusing on digital production follows a seemingly irreversible and accelerating decline in print sales.

The Scotsman‘s average daily sale for January to June last year was 14,938, with just 7,616 buying it over the counter at full price.

JPIMedia, a company formed by a group of bondholders, acquired about 200 titles from Johnston Press at the end of 2018 but put the papers up for sale in July.

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