John McGurk, pictured left, made the comments about The Scotsman following the latest round of ABC figures last week, which revealed the Edinburgh-based title’s circulation had dropped by 10.8pc in the second half of last year to 26,283.
The figures also revealed The Scotsman’s website hosted on average 182,499 daily, 950,578 weekly and 3,409,126 monthly browsers during the same time period.
Writing on the Scot-Buzz business news and current affairs website, which he now co-edits, John described The Scotsman as “a potent brand around the world”.
In the piece, headlined “Time to put The Scotsman out of its misery”, he added the advantage of switching to digital-only would be the elimination of “newsprint, production and distribution costs in one fell swoop”, which could then be reinvested into the website.
Wrote John: “The Scotsman no longer makes money; the presses in Edinburgh have been sold off; the staff have been moved out of the Holyrood building into a 1960s office block towards the outskirts of the city and, appropriately, across the road from a cemetery.
“The harsh reality is that lack of resource and precious few editorial staff makes it hugely difficult to produce a newspaper which stands out from the other 16 daily newspapers on sale in Scotland.
“Too many front pages are a summary of the previous night’s television news, a formula for further readership decline.
“Those who continue to produce a paper are to be applauded; there are desperate circumstances to overcome every day and a constant threat of more job losses. The Scotsman is an old friend… it’s miserable and painful to watch it suffer much longer.”
John’s comments today received a robust response from Johnston Press. A spokeswoman said: “Mr McGurk may want to check his facts before writing off the print version of The Scotsman. It is still profitable and remains one of the flagship titles in the Johnston Press portfolio.
“It has an extremely loyal audience – both in print and online – and a talented team of people working hard to deliver quality content across all platforms.
“The Scotsman plays a key role in delivering daily coverage of Scotland’s news – as well as national and international events – and will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the ever-changing ways people consume news.
“We are, in fact, currently investing in the title to ensure it enjoys a healthy and vibrant future – both online and in print. “