Johnston says Scotsman integrity will remain

By Hamish MacKay

Johnston Press has issued assurances over the editorial independence of The Scotsman titles after purchasing them from the Barclay brothers for £160m.

And in a first major staff change, managing director Stephen Walker has been replaced by Michael Johnston, son of former Johnston Press chief executive, Freddy.

Michael has worked for the company for eight years, most recently in charge of the south of England newspaper division.

Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler is reported by the rival Sunday Herald to be on a “charm offensive”

with Scottish politicians.

Bowdler said: “I said to Alex Salmond [Scottish Nationalist Party Leader] and would say to anyone else that The Scotsman is not edited from Johnston Press’s Manor Place head office. It’s a matter for the editor and for the journalistic staff working on the paper, and there is absolutely no question about that.”

The new owners set out their plans for the papers at a mass meeting of Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News staff.

An insider said: “There was an absence of any grand vision for the future – more a reassurance of editorial independence, being apolitical and open in attitude.

“Bowdler and Michael Johnston both made it clear that the three newspapers should reflect the views and aspirations of their readers.”

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