The founder of an award-winning online newspaper is stepping down to join the Yes campaign for Scottish independence.
Stewart Kirkpatrick, who is editor of the Caledonian Mercury, will become the digital head for the Yes campaign, which will see a referendum held in 2014.
He set up the Mercury as an online newspaper in January 2010 and is a former editor of The Scotsman’s website, Scotsman.com – a role he held for seven years during which time traffic rose ten-fold to four million unique users per month.
In his new role, Stewart will be responsible for all aspects of the campaign’s digital network, including the Yes Scotland website and databases, maximising links and co-operation between national, regional and local groups.
Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland chief executive, said it was a key appointment in what he claimed would be the biggest community-based campaign in Scottish history.
He said: “I am delighted that somebody of Stewart Kirkpatrick’s calibre is joining our team. In 21st century campaigning, digital content, development and management are fundamental to success and Stewart is undoubtedly a proven leader in this field of expertise.”
Stewart is a member of the international committee of the Online News Association and has worked as a consultant for the Scottish Government, STV.tv, The Times and others, while he has also lectured in online journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.
He said: “I am very excited about joining the Yes Scotland team and working with Blair Jenkins who, as a journalist and broadcaster, I have admired and respected for many years.
“I am aware of the challenges facing us and very excited about rising to them using all the channels that digital offers. Yes Scotland will be the biggest ever campaign of its kind and I am thrilled to be playing a part in it.”