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Columnist pays price for critical blog entry

A Scottish newspaper columnist has been fired after suggesting in a blog that job and home seekers should head online rather than print.

For more than a decade, Ibiza-based Nick Clayton contributed a gadget column to ‘Saturday’ – a weekend magazine produced by The Scotsman.

But last week he received a phone call from Saturday editor Alison Gray telling him that his services were no longer required.

The decision, according to Clayton, was taken after an entry he made about the decline in newspaper revenue in his blog on

It said: “So-called ‘quality’ newspapers have always relied on advertising for the majority of their income and classifieds were the biggest earner. That means jobs and property.

“The reason I was back in Edinburgh was to sell my flat.

“All but one of the too many estate agents I spoke to told me not to bother advertising in The Scotsman.

“Whether you’re looking for work or a home, the web’s the place to go.”

Initially, removed the blog entry but decided to reinstate it after claiming it received no official comment or explanation from The Scotsman.

In a follow up entry, Nick says: “I’ve never been fired before. I’d written a slightly controversial blog entry for suggesting that, as websites replace printed newspapers, there would be little need for physical offices and that the role of the sub-editor would disappear.

“I hoped it would be a little provocative but the most I expected was to have a few virtual brickbats lobbed in my direction.

“My overwhelming emotion is sadness. I’ve written regularly for The Scotsman through, I think, eight editors, although I’ve rather lost count. For now, I’ve informed the NUJ about my situation.”

Scotsman editor Mike Gilson has been approached for comment but so far has not responded.


Ninian Reid (24/09/2008 11:44:31)
Ag, the Spanish Inquisition still has some life in it.

Lactose (24/09/2008 16:45:29)
A bit harsh, for stating what’s become an undeniable truth…

Darren (24/09/2008 17:26:50)
Sounds very petty to me

charlotte white (25/09/2008 09:12:56)
A couple of years agon when I was at a Johnson Press paper my colleague was sacked because she suggested in a blog that JP was relying took heavily on Citizen journalism rather than respecting its journalists – the business has a very odd stance over the web

peter (25/09/2008 11:20:56)
I agree with lactose, it’s hardly the writer’s fault that reality doesn’t mesh with editorial policy. There’s not a lot of point in writing a blog if making references to the real world costs you future work. The fact that it was a freelance just makes the bullying more blatant.

Nick Clayton (25/09/2008 12:05:44)
Seems I’m not the only one who is not too enamoured of Johnston Press. A year ago its shares stood at 343p today you can buy them for 36.5p. That says it all really.
I’d like to think that the editor is embarrassed at the whole furore and that’s why he’s not responded to any of the calls he’s had from The Guardian, UK Press Gazette, the NUJ, allmediascotland and HTFP. If management wanted the information kept quiet, it’s been singularly ineffective. What would have passed unnoticed except by a few Scottish hacks and flacks is now on dozens of sites.
I didn’t even realise I was a messenger worth shooting.