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McLellan made Scotsman editor after Gilson quits

John McLellan today became The Scotsman’s 10th editor in 15 years after it was announced that Mike Gilson had left the title.

The Edinburgh Evening News editor assumed control of the flagship morning daily as speculation mounted about his possible appointment as editor-in-chief of both titles.

In a statement this morning, Scotsman Publications managing director Michael Johnston announced the appointment of Mr McLellan as editor of The Scotsman with effect from Monday.

“A further announcement about the Editorship of the Evening News will be made in due course. Until that time, John will continue to oversee the title,” the statement added.

It followed an earlier statement from Mr Johnston confirming that Mr Gilson had “relinquished his position with immediate effect.”

Mr Gilson’s departure follows that of Scotland on Sunday editor Les Snowdon earlier this month to become sports editor of the Daily Mail. Ironically the two editors were appointed in the same week as eachother in September 2006.

Speculation is mounting that Mr McLellan will now be given an editor-in-chief role similar to that of Donald Martin at Glasgow’s Herald and Times group.

Last year, he was given the task of compiling a report on merging the production and photographic departments of the Evening News, Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, but denied he was to be appointed editor-in-chief.

The Herald itself today joined in the speculation about its Edinburgh-based rival with a story about the departure of Mr Gilson, who had previously edited The News, Portsmouth, and the Peteborough Evening Telegraph.

It said: “It is understood Mr Gilson, who has been an editor of Johnston Press titles for more than 12 years, was unhappy with restructure plans which are thought to include appointing one editor-in-chief. It is believed Edinburgh Evening News editor, John McLellan, is the leading contender.”

The turnover rate of Scotsman editors in recent years has been prodigious. Since Magnus Linklater left in 1994, it has had no fewer than ten.

They are: Andrew Jaspan (1994-1995), James Seaton (1995-1997), Martin Clarke (1997-1998), Alan Ruddock (1998-2000), Tim Luckhurst (2000), Rebecca Hardy (2000-2001), Iain Martin (2001-2004), John McGurk (2004-2006) Mr Gilson (2006-2009) and now Mr McLellan.

Mr McLellan is currently a member of the Press Complaints Commission, Vice Chairman of the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society’s editors’ committee and a member of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting (D-Notice) Committee.

He was previously assistant editor of The Journal in Newcastle and has since joining Scotsman Publications in 1994 has had two spells editing the Evening News with a stint as editor of Scotland on Sunday in between.


F. Johnston (20/02/2009 10:25:37)
The editor is going the way of the readers, the website users, the Johnston Press share price . . .

Hackattack (20/02/2009 14:49:06)
It’s a shame JP doesn’t value ‘proper’ editors. Gilson was one of a kind and a true advocate of decent newspapers with great news stories. But you need the resource and the support from above to do that. His departure speaks for itself. . .

out of it (20/02/2009 17:04:04)
Don’t cry too much over editors- even ones as good as Gilson. They usually get a better farewell handshake than the hundreds of decent reporters and subs earning way below national average wages who lost jobs or been pushed around because of JPs greed and incompetence.
I have friends still working for JP and I fear for them. My guess from the northern grapevine of those still working with this dying beast is title mergers could be on the way- killing off some long-established local papers.
JP hates losing titles- it still deludes itself that “life is local ” on JP papers run by incompetents 20 miles or more from where the action is- but it hates losing money in shedloads even more.
Heavens knows I hope for everyone’s sake I am wrong about this.

Matt Merritt (24/02/2009 16:29:50)
That’s a fair point, Out Of It, but it’s a shame nonetheless. I worked for Mike Gilson for a year in Peterborough and, as Hackattack suggests, he stood out as an editor actually concerned about proper news stories, really local papers, and keeping staff happy.