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Independence stance about belief, not sales says editor

A Sunday newspaper editor whose title became the first regional to back Scottish independence has defended his views in an interview with a student newspaper.

The Sunday Herald came out in favour of the ‘Yes’ campaign for September’s independence referendum in a front page editorial last month.

Now editor Richard Walker has explained the thinking behind the move in an interview with the St Andrews University student newspaper, The Saint.

He denied it was primarily about attempting to gain new readers and was simply an honest statement of what the paper believed.

Said Richard:  “It seemed to be honest to tell our readers where we are. Quite a few other papers have written editorials on the referendum and the general stance has been against independence. We feel otherwise.

He said that while sales figures were up since the paper published the editorial, the move was not what he termed “a cynical exercise in gaining new readers.”

“Newspapers have progressed from a time where they say ‘We believe this and we expect you to follow our beliefs’,” added Richard.

“We explain what we believe and what values the paper adheres to and readers can make up their own minds. We should know what the newspaper stands for.”

Richard accused the ‘Better Together’ campaign of throwing up a number of “scare stories” about independence which he described as “plainly ridiculous.”

“We’ve got the opportunity to reshape the country in a way that’s more in line with Scotland’s attitude to politics. It’s not a two fingers to Westminster, it’s about taking responsibility to decide how to spend our money and how we go forward as a country,” he added.

The full interview can be seen here.