Flagship set to launch Scottish tabloid paper

Belfast-based Flagship Media Group, one of Ireland’s largest newspaper-to internet publishers, is poised to launch a tabloid paper in Scotland.

A launch date and working title have yet to be announced and it is not clear whether the tabloid will take a pro-nationalist editorial line.

The group is advertising for an editor for the proposed Scottish tabloid at a salary of £45,000-£50,000. The editor must have a “keen interest in Scottish politics”.

The advertisement reveals that the tabloid will have an initial editorial team of 10, but anticipated expansion would lead to more editorial jobs.

Flagship’s personnel manager Frank Creelman said plans for the tabloid were commercially confidential and declined to reveal any more details at this stage.

He said further announcements would bemade in due course.

It has been known for more than a year that Flagship and the Scottish National Party have discussed the possibility of a pro-nationalist newspaper in Scotland.

Flagship managing director Derek Carstairs floated the idea at a fringe meeting at last year’s SNP national conference. At that time the paper was planned to be a direct-mail weekly costing about £60 a year.

Carstairs said then that when he went into publishing it was always his intention to return to Scotland with the skills to launch a nationalist newspaper.

Flagship Media Group was launched in 1995. Its first publication was Regional Film & Video, a monthly trade newspaper encompassing all regional broadcast sector markets in the UK and Ireland.

This was followed by Keystone, a monthly trade newspaper for the construction industry, and Northern Business Mail Express, a monthly trade newspaper in Northern Ireland.

In 1997 it launched its largest publication, Recruitment – Irelands’ Jobs Paper , a weekly newspaper aimed at jobseekers throughout Ireland.

Following the launch of Recruitment , Carstairs was named Northern Irish Entrepreneur of the Year.

In 1999 Flagship launched its fifth publication, The Big List, a bi-weekly entertainment freesheet, followed in 2000 by three internet products.

Eighteen months ago it began distributing Keystone in Scotland.

The SNP claimed it knows nothing about the venture. “It has nothing to do with us,” said a spokesman. He added: “The SNP would welcome any venture which would result in Scotland having a national paper which agrees with our aim of independence”

By Hamish MacKay

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