New Scotsman editor sets out to emphasise paper's unique identity

The new editor of The Scotsman, Mike Gilson, has said carving out a unique identity for the paper is one of his main priorities.

Gilson, who currently edits The News in Portsmouth, said: "It's a ferocious market and there is so much competition, there are huge challenges. One of the things we need to start looking at is how The Scotsman is differentiated, how is it unique and what it is saying to its readers.

"There are some strategic issues we need to look at. The Scotsman has a strength of being unique in that market in that it serves the Scottish opinion makers, thinkers and decision makers and we need to tap into that. I don't think we can afford to be a carbon copy of everybody else; The Scotsman needs to carve its own identity.

"Connecting with your audience is absolutely vital; it's what we've done in Portsmouth and it's what we will do in Scotland."

The Scotsman recorded a 10 per cent dip in sales in the last set of ABCs despite a switch to tabloid format in 2004. Under Gilson The News was one of the best-performing evening newspapers in the country.

Gilson has been an editor of Johnston Press titles for 10 years, including the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, and has edited The News since 2000.

The paper won the Newspaper Society's Campaign of the Year award for its efforts to win an Arctic Star medal for British veterans of the World War Two Russian convoys.

He is a member of the Press Complaints Commission's code committee and served on Johnston Press'

Editorial Review Group. He is chairman of the company's Digital Publishing Working Party advising on future newsroom operations.

Johnston Press acquired The Scotsman's publisher Scotsman Publications, which also owns the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, from the Barclay Brothers for £161 million this year.

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