A leading Scottish newspaper columnist has suggested a ‘Yes’ vote in Thursday’s independence referendum could boost the country’s “declining” press.
Ian McWhirter, who used to write for The Scotsman and is now a contributor to Glasgow rival The Herald, said print titles north of the border have been losing 100,000 sales a year.
Writing in The Guardian, he said a ‘Yes’ vote on Thursday may benefit Scottish newspapers as there would be “so much to report.”
But he went on to say that the real issue for the Scottish press was to prevent it being “overwhelmed” by English media.
Iain said The Scotsman’s circulation of 27,000 was “barely a third” of what it sold ten years ago.
He wrote: “The Scotsman’s decline is emblematic of the crisis of the printed press in what used to be the greatest newspaper-reading nation on earth.
“The print newspapers have been losing 100,000 sales a year, and Charles McGee, the former editor of the Herald, has said that the Scottish print titles only have around five years left – and that was two years ago.
“The Sunday Herald is the only Scottish paper to have increased its print sales significantly, largely as a result of its decision in May to back yes in the independence referendum. Since then its weekly sales have regularly been up 25pc year on year.
“Many believe, intuitively, that independence would be good for Scottish newspapers. There would be so much to report, apart from anything else, as Scotland sets up its own currency, negotiates entry to Europe and so on.
“But there is no guarantee that this business would benefit the Scottish press uniquely. Eventually Scotland – in or out of the union – is going to have to find a way to prevent its domestic media being overwhelmed by the media of another country.”