Review of "The Scotsman"
Occasional reviewer these days, still aiming to share exceptional product experiences.
‘The conductors pledge themselves for impartiality, firmness and independence…’ [From the prospectus of the Scotsman, 30 November 1816]
Not so much a newspaper, more a way of life?
The Scotsman is not so much a ‘local’ Scottish newspaper, more an established broadsheet based in the Scottish capital. Published from Holyrood in Edinburgh, close to the Parliament building, its perspective may be Scottish but its coverage is worldwide, and it’s now widely accessible. I’ve been a daily Scotsman reader for years, with a quality London broadsheet every Sunday and a weekly local paper just for good measure.
Edinburgh Festival & Fringe regulars may be familiar with The Scotsman’s comprehensive coverage of shows, exhibitions, concerts etc. But it doesn’t stop when the last festival-goer departs each year, and it has been around even longer than the International Festival. First published back in 1817, according to its website, The Scotsman ‘provides news, events and sport features’. In reality, the printed daily contains much more besides, including intelligent editorial comment, analysis and entertainment. Its pages are particularly lively at the moment, given the current political climate, so this review may be timely, if necessarily somewhat brief and partial.
No newspaper is perfect and I don’t necessarily agree with – or indeed accept at face value – everything I read. Still, I have been a regular subscriber to The Scotsman for the best part of four decades now, and for me there has never been a more interesting time to follow its coverage than the present, as the current constitutional debate continues, along with all the latest British and world events. The good news is that much of this content can be freely accessed online, across national borders! (See links below)
When I lived in London in the 60s, and again briefly in the mid 70s, I was lucky enough to have access to both the Scottish and English press. Copies of The Scotsman were available from stands in the Euston area, perhaps for obvious reasons(?) But I was surprised to read recently that the paper is actually printed at Canary Wharf nowadays - which may just go to show how interdependent we all are nowadays! We’re certainly more interconnected anyway…
Beyond traditional newsprintCurrently published by Johnston Publishing Ltd., its sister papers include the more recently established publication Scotland on Sunday, along with the Edinburgh Evening News. But The Scotsman is the flagship. Its Saturday edition includes a colour magazine. In fact, a supplement has been published since the early 1960s. The first web version was launched back in the mid ‘90s and the publishers have done well to keep abreast of new media trends and technologies – see links below.
When a new compact format was adopted in 2004 I had slight misgivings initially, fearing a possible ‘dumbing down’, but those fears were unfounded and it’s certainly more manageable than a traditional broadsheet.
Editorial policyWithout straying into the political arena, it seems The Scotsman largely maintains its traditional stance, independent of government. However, ownership and editors have changed in recent years, and its position on independence has been questioned. Bill Jamieson is currently Executive Editor, with his special emphasis on business and economics; John McLellan became Editor-in-Chief in 2009 and the editorial team covers news, education, features, sport etc.
From what I can gather (somewhat unscientifically) The Scotsman sells far fewer copies than the popular tabloids in Scotland. No surprise there really, though the website usage statistics might be informative.
- Main News & Reviews
- Scottish Perspective - comment, analysis etc.
- Picture Gallery
- Features – including regular contributions by Alexander McCall Smith
- TV & Radio
- Games & Cinema
- Weekly supplements for property, sport, motoring and cash etc.
- Regular ‘freebies’ include booklets, maps, posters etc.
- Scotsman Digital Archive – Search every issue of The Scotsman from 1817 – 1950 (subscription only)
- Scotsman Calendars – available for purchase online (link below)
Latest (March 2012)Scotsman iPad app free trial offer (on App Store)
Price & availability
At a cover price of £1, with discounts available to subscribers, this seems quite good value. The printed paper is widely available throughout Scotland, and Scotsman.com is accessible online.
VerdictA ‘capital’ broadsheet, though some may disagree!
- Scotsman.com also via RSS newsfeed, on Facebook & Twitter and via iTunes & iPad app
- Digital Archive : http://archive.scotsman.com/
- Scotsman Calendar : http://calendar.scotsman.com/
Johnston Press : www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/
[© SteveS001 2012. A version of this original review may appear on other review sites]
Product Information : The Scotsman
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 29/03/2001